Francisco Beat Out a Fire at Fruit Stand in Montellano, Dominican Republic
Montellano, Dominican Republic 10:00 PM Friday, February 10, 2012 I was sitting in red plastic chair talking with Fior the lady who owns the Egg Sandwich cart that sits on the Calle Principal close to my Hotel. Suddenly the city electrical grid starts and the local are happy, the power has returned to the city. Montellano on average appears to only have public electricity maybe 4-8 hours per day. In this time, the business owners and few of the locals will charge up batteries. 10 minutes after the lights come on, I see a local man pulling a burning plastic chair from inside the fruit vendors building. I run across to help, and as best I can recollect, this man Francisco above ducked under the door and entered the building full of flames. I bent down to see, the door was half missing, only the bottom remain, and inside, there was at least four large flames. Francisco was making pounding noises inside, I could not make him out, and he was inside pounding away with whatever was available. The door had a padlock on it, so me and another man stood their looking. I looked at the door for 10-20 seconds. I was not sure what to do, if I kicked it open, then maybe the extra oxygen could ignite an even bigger flame, and cause harm to the man inside. I finally decided to kick it in, and then then soon boys next to me decided that was a good and took over, the door was tough, but suddenly the owner appeared and unlocked the door. Rush - Rush - Rush Suddenly, I was pushed to the side as a swarm of men around the age of 20-25 came pounding through with buckets of water. One boy, quite humorously was in a towel, they all had buckets of water and started throwing them into the building. One man with a container of water holding approximately 20 gallons came up, dropped it at the door, pushed the owner out of the way and went into the burning building. That dousing stopped the flames, and the whole neighborhood clapped in excitement. On hindsight, there is a Bomberos station down the street, and they never came, and either did the police, quite a let down for me. (My friend with the 15 Peso Sandwiches say they do not have a truck.) I am constantly at odds in my mind with the local people of the Dominican Republic, I again think of the book “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck, and there is the same story being told here in the Dominican Republic… on one day, they are sinners, the next they are Saints. Sosua is, and Montellano could be, but last night in Montellano, I saw, "saints and angels and martyrs and holy men."
“ inhabitants are, as the man once said, 'whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,' by which he meant everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, 'saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,' and he would have meant the same thing.”--- John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
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