Saturday, July 24, 2010

Having a BLAST at Home

Originally uploaded by gkhamilton
I was living the bachelor life at home last week, while Kathy was leading (in my place, as mentioned in my last blog entry) our student ministry’s trip to International Youth Convention in Orlando. Though it provided some good sermon material for that week, was bummed about missing the trip and missed having Kathy with me. My injured leg prevented me from doing anything active (I wasn’t even able to drive until earlier in the week), so there were only a few minor tweaks in my current routine: enjoying some “Garth time,” eating unhealthy foods, having my students over to the house more often, and playing my movies and music louder.

That last part, about cranking up my home theater system, wasn’t nearly enough to drown out the series of loud booms that drew our new neighbors and me together late Thursday night. I thought the first blast at around 10:40 was coming from my rear surround sound speakers, as part of the fireworks display from the rock concert that I had blaring in my living room. The second boom rattled things on my walls and sent me hopping out to the front porch, grabbing a crutch on my way out. I glanced over across the street to see if Dave my neighbor had driven into his garage door or something.

From my front porch I heard the third and final, biggest, deepest boom of all… followed by a cloud of black smoke billowing into the sky. My first thought was that the Intel Aloha Campus was blowing up, one section at a time. Chills shot down my spine at the fear of a major meltdown at an industrial plant that I could see from my living room. We could have been in big trouble if Intel was going down in flames. As Doug, my neighbor, so comfortingly put it, “We’re right in the blast zone.”


The flames were coming from the corner, however, at the Aloha Garbage and Recycling plant, just west of the Intel Campus. Two garbage trucks were destroyed by the flames, reportedly causing over $350,000 in damage. As bad as this was, I audibly thanked God that this was not the more potentially catastrophic crisis that I had feared.

I hobbled across the street to the corner, joining the growing number of gawking onlookers that came running from blocks away.

Police cars and fire trucks had Blanton Street completely blocked off.

IMAG0235.jpgLocal affiliates from all four networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX showed up on the scene within minutes.
IMAG0236.jpgI was interviewed on camera by news crews from KGW and KPTV, and I encouraged them to also talk to my neighbor Brett (pictured), who was the first to see the flames erupt.

Channel 8 and Channel 12 broadcasted my interviews live on Thursday night (I think), and clips from my interviews were repeated at least every 30 minutes on both channels all morning, at noon, and during the afternoon and evening news on Friday. I was floored by the dozens of people who called or Facebooked me (including one guy who I’d never even met, on Monday) throughout the week about seeing those interviews. If only my paid work in print ads and TV commercials was that popular!

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