The conflagration

Tom Falco
3 min readNov 1, 2023
All photos by Tom Falco

A couple of nights ago, about 2:30 am, as usual, neighborhood was dead quiet. All of a sudden, we hear loud booms! Sounded like bombs going off. I thought that was what it was because the houses and buildings shook. And the booms were so loud.

I heard voices and then assumed it was kids with fireworks which happens once in awhile, but the booms got louder and scarier. I then thought it was kids throwing bombs. What else could it be?

I looked outside the window and saw nothing but neighbor across the street was screaming, which made it worse. She then started yelling “Fire! Fire!” And when I looked out the window again, the street started to go in flames. Literally. Suddenly dark black smoke filled the sky and the flames grew to about 25 feet high and started spreading along the street as it grew bigger.

I was sure they were going to reach the electrical wires and travel from house to house. Looking at it all this the next morning, I was amazed that didn’t happen. Maybe the wires are fire proof.

What next, I thought? More of this? I was sure we were being bombed. More and more explosions happened. One of my neighbors told me that her synagogue has 24 hour watch due to problems in the Mideast. TV news reported about localized antisemitic attacks and I thought perhaps this was an attack against someone who lived in the neighborhood. But then I just thought it had to be kids on bikes or cars with homemade bombs just randomly throwing them.

The fire department arrived very quickly and attacked the fire, which relieved me. The police arrived, too, and I thought, perhaps they can find the culprits and stop them tonight.

I went out on the balcony to see, but the sky was black from all the smoke which grew worse as the killed the fire. Was it toxic? Was it dangerous?

I started to think of the people in Israel, Gaza and Ukraine. This was a mini thing, but it was scary as hell. Random people bombing our homes? Invisible people at this point.

As soon as the fire department got it all under control, I was relieved to see it was two cars that were involved and not what I had suspected. One car blew up and caught fire. As it turned the corner, it just started popping and exploding, sounding like bombs. Each explosion caused the conflagration. Each explosion was louder and louder.

It was very close to another car, one of my neighbor’s cars, and it caused that car to catch fire because it all happened at that car’s gas tank.

It ended up being the newspaper delivery people’s car. The man and woman who deliver the Miami Herald. They were in the car driving around the bend delivering papers when their car exploded which caused the fire and all the chaos! Luckily they got out in time.

Neighbors all ran down but I watched from upstairs. I was still shaken thinking it was something else, which luckily, it wasn’t.

The fire was put out, the fire department and police left, the two cars were towed away and just a big black area in the street is all that is left. Glad that everyone is safe and the fire didn’t spread to the whole neighborhood.

Originally published at on November 1, 2023.



Tom Falco

Tom, along with being a cartoonist, writes about art, history and culture.