Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Govan's Burning! Pour On Water!

Central Govan Correspondent, Berd, rings to say flames are leaping out the top floor window of 10 Rathlin Street. She's got a photo.
When I arrive, there's police tape across the street and a hundred strong crowd gathering; the anxious, the curious, the annoyed, the quite pleased.
A fireman strides to Richard's bar corner. "Anybody live in number 10? Number 10 anybody?"
A few hands go up, me, me, we do.
"What floor you on? What side? Anybody in your house? Is there anybody in there? Speak up now cos we're puttin the doors in."
At this a Somalian girl becomes irate.
"You're putting the doors in! Noooo! You can't. This place is full of junkies and low life and they'll get all my things!"
She clenches her fists down by her sides and stamps her high stiletto heel in fury.
"So that's how she feels aboot us," says one wag with a guffaw.
A wee wumman says she is in 10 but she's got her key so they don't have to break down her door.
"Oh aye," says the fireman, "Anybody else got a key? We're searching the flats at number 10. Any more keys?" 
"Glad ye thought of that," says the wag, sarkily.
The police tape is lowered to admit fire engines till there's five lined up the street and a fancy range rover belonging to a fire chief.
The Polis begin to take names and ages of those now made homeless by the fire and advise that the Housing will be round shortly.
All sorts of rumours abound; hotels for the night, back in tomorrow, you can get your stuff, you can't get anything, you'll be out for months.

An ambulance is parked over at the Harmony Bar and the paramedics are down Rathlin Street attending to a victim.
Whispers hiss round the crowd; it was him that started it, drunk.
Naw, it was a workie on the roof, left on a blowtorch.
It was him, he's in his pyjamas, been drinking in there for days.
The paramedics lead the wounded man towards the ambulance, dazed and dishevelled in bare feet and a mullet, he smiles to the gazing public and my camera which, of course, misses the moment.
As the hour wears on, people drift past and stop for a gander. A few residents arrive home from work, only to find they can't get in. Tired and hungry, they effuse irritability through the air.
Go round to the housing, they're still open, advise the polis.
Berd insists the Asian man in the thermal vest and ill fitting shoes is the dentist from above Spicy Govan. Whit? Are you sure?
If nothing else, this summertime street barbecue is a good way to meet the neighbours. I get chatting to a lady who tells me she's off on a round the world hitchhike. Come the Spring, she's packing in her job in security and is off on her own to see the planet.
We have a good laugh at the newshound with the red dictaphone and the reporter's pad on which he's scribbled, "Man rescued from top floor flat fire."
Robert and Catweasel consider the situation and progress being made by the fire department, before Catweasel takes off on a quick zip down McKechnie Street to climb over the backs. He wants to check out the report from a passer-by who says there's a massive hole in the Rathlin Street roof, right the way along.

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