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Fire Damages Bleak House

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The New York Times reported that fire damaged the home where Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield. The home used to house a Dickens museum but was recently sold to a private owner. No one was inside the structure during the blaze on Sunday night. Other reports state that forty fireman extinguished the blaze within an hour.

Critics contend that the fire was slow-burning, going on and on, requiring five or six times the normal amount of oxygen and fuel to burn, enveloping the house from every angle while reporters described every single, solitary, possible nuance of liquid orange flame curling around the heavy, dark, wooden timbers.

Implacable house fire. As much debris in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke billowing from the walls, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sunIn the yard, dogs, undistinguisable in the glow. Horses, scarcely better; illuminated to their very blinkers. Firemen on foot, jostling one another’s firehoses in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing losing their foot-hold in the corner of the yard, where tens of thousands of other firemen have been slipping and sliding since the blaze broke, adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.

Actually, I shouldn’t joke. Although I’m not much of a Dickens fan, fires are still extremely dangerous to inhabitants and fireman and this was someone’s home. So inspite of my light-hearted jest, this is a sad story.