Sunday, 30 November 2008

Fire in Sokol

On Thursday while returning home I happened to witness an interesting event in my area. I came out of my metro station and all I could see was smoke, lots of thick grey smoke. My first thoughts were ‘Oh no a bomb! What have the extremists done now?!’ Too long living in capital cities me thinks, anyone else probably would have suspected a fire first. After recovering from the shock of finding my street filled with smoke I decided I should go and have a look. When I got closer I realised that one of the kiosks that line the streets here in Moscow had caught a blaze and that it was not in fact the work of Chechen extremists or ‘Chechen extremists’ depending on your views on Russian politics and conspiracy theories. Having made this realisation I decided to go and get as close as possible to the action to try and find out what was happening. This was somewhat hard as most people were walking off in the other direction and the fire brigade were trying to put the flames out albeit rather half heartedly. After I realised that I had started coughing from the smoke I decided to take some pictures then get out of there and go home. That and I had gotten fed up of people going ‘devushka! Shto sluchilos’?’ (Literally: Girl! What has happened?’) To which I was like ‘How on earth should I know?!’
A couple of things that made me realise this was happening in Russia and not in the UK were that the fire brigade had not cornered off the area and if I had wanted I could have actually walked into the fire. Another thing was that most people walking along the street at the time didn’t really seem to care and seemed more annoyed that their clothes were going to smell of smoke and that they couldn’t walk on the main road but had to walk alone the back street.
The site were the fire happened is now taped off and all that remains is some ash and some half melted snow. The book shop opposite has had to have its windows replaced and this has resulted in the area around the shop being taped off. I never thought I’d stay it but I do miss good old Health and Safety or as some call it Health and F!$*ing Safety. I am now a little scared to walk down that part of the street in case glass falls on me, more scared than when the fire was there! Strange events continue to keep happening to me in Moscow.

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