A Fire



It was twilight time. I was watching television in my house when I heard an explosion. More followed. So I went outside to see what the matter was.

A column of dark billowing smoke told me the story. There was a fire raging a short distance away.
I got onto my bicycle and pedalled in the direction of the smoke. A couple of kilometres later I came upon the fire. It was a row of motor-workshops and they were burning furiously.

The police and fire department had already cordoned off the area. I watched from a distance. A crowd had already gathered and we gaped with amazement at the spectacle presented by the burning shops.

The fire rose to about twenty metres and it lit up the whole area even though the sky was already dark. The firemen desperately sprayed streams of water into the fire to control it. Now and then explosions can be heard as gas cylinders blew up in the intense heat.

For more than an hour the fire raged. I could see anxious people trying to get near the workshops only to be held back by the police. They were obviously the shop-owners trying to save their shops. Actually they could do nothing but wait for the fire to be extinguished.

Finally the blaze died down and darkness enveloped us. The workshops were totally razed. Only red-hot embers remained where they once stood. The crowd thinned and I too got onto my bicycle and cycled home.
   
cordone off If people in authority, such as the police, cordon off a building or area, they put something around it in order to stop people from entering it
   
gape to look in great surprise at someone or something, especially with an open mouth
   
embera piece of wood or coal, etc. which continues to burn after a fire has no more flames