Neighbors in pajamas, part deux

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Last Monday evening, I was lucky enough to see my neighbors in the dark of night clad in their pajamas for the second time in two weeks.

Last week, I reported for the staff blog about a nasty dryer fire at my condo complex in Costa Mesa.

An eerily familiar scene ensued Monday morning at about 3 a.m., when my roommate Kyle pounded on my bedroom door. In a death-like slumber, I awoke and thought I was still dreaming. "Dude, get up—you've got to see this."

"Wha?" I slurred. "See wha?"

"The house across the street is on fire; it's insane. You've got to see this."

I walked out of my front door and was greeted, once again, by a gaggle of red-strobe-blazing firetrucks. There were my neighbors, once again in their PJ's, standing and looking in awe. Luckily, I sleep in a three-piece suit and tie with my reporter's fedora hanging within arm's reach on a nearby coat rack.

Once the roaring yellow blur became a crackling molten hell blaze (I had my contact lenses out), I was awed as well. The fire was nearing a group of trees, and my neighbors and I held our breaths.

Thanks to the intrepid firefighters of Costa Mesa, the blaze was put down in few minutes and everyone was okay.

The next morning, I walked over there to take pictures, and one of the neighbors said he witnessed the whole thing and was the first guy to call 911. He was sleeping next door when he heard a large explosion. He woke up and peeked through the blinds, only to see another explosion.

"After that, the whole house was engulfed—just like that," he says. The firefighters told him it was a gas line explosion. The family living in the flaming condo unit got out in time and everyone was safe.

A firefighter walked over to a plant pot and poured a bucket of water into it; seven hours after the fire was out, white smoke billowed from the pot.

So two fires in two weeks, and what have I learned? Dryers are ticking time bombs and so is your house. There's really nothing you can do about it.

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