Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The oops Fire

The oops Fire was something a friend of mine did back in April of 2006. 

We were reading about the history of our area one day and came upon an article that spoke of an old attraction dating back to the early 1900's. This attraction was literally built in the middle of the woods about a good mile from the Delaware River in Pa. It was suppose to be the Coney Island of the Poconos and with the exception of the lack of oceanfront much like Coney Island, it was to attract many visitors and hopeful businessmen to the area. It was once stated in an old article, of which I don't know where it originated from, this part of the Poconos was to be the Hollywood of the northeast United States. Well due to the weather of this particular part of Pa, the land was prone to flooding as the little creek swelled up to a small river in the spring months and heavy storms. The attraction park ultimately met it's demise roughly in the 20's when heavy rains flooded the area causing the little stream to swell and take over the park and swallow up anything in it's path. After the wake of the storm the park was shut down forever and it left behind one notable attraction, The Gravity Rail. More information about what a  Gravity Railroad is, can be found here: Gravity Railroad

Now at this point we we're all incited to go check this place out since it was only a few miles from where my friend lived. As we kept reading about this place my friend Mike said that there was a bank located in the park and that the safe had washed away. So being how adventurous Mike is, he really wanted to go out and find this 'lost safe' in hopes to find historical money. So with myself, Mike and our two other friends we geared ourselves up and drove off to the site of the once attraction park. I had doubts of finding such treasure but to be in a pace of history was good enough for me, however Mike had strong intentions to be a treasure hunter much like Indiana Jones, and on the drive there we had no idea the adventure we had in mind. 

We arrived the spot and took off into the woods, geared with shovels, metal detectors and an assortment of other supplies we could see a clearing ahead of us. In the middle of the woods was a stream that lead us into a vast clearing of where the attraction once stood almost a century earlier. With our metal detectors in hand we began to sweep along the stream, we found old nails, bolts, poop and an old rusted metal plate. We walked all over the clearing and once we neared the cliffs we had found a thick heavy cable that ran across the land. This was the cable used for the gravity railroad that was which the main attraction to this place, it ran along a rail that was nearly a mile long, we found old rail ties and rails themselves that were left over from the park. The years of rust have proved minimal as the rails survived over a century in the woods in the ever changing weather. 

After being amused for a bit we went back to the clearing in which was covered in dry grass and leaves. The metal detectors would go off every so often and we would dig just to find old rusty nails and bolts. Occasionally we found an old bottle or beer cans from late night party goers. Then our detectors found something, we were frustrated to find that the metal detector had picked up an item underneath a huge pile of brush and dirt. All 3 of our detectors went off high on the chart which told us something valuable was there. But we were tired after wandering for hours so my friend Mike decided to be smart and clear the brush in a different fashion. He took a can of spray paint and painted the brush, thinking it was X marks the spot suddenly Mike pulls out a torch lighter and sets the ground on fire to burn away the brush. What an idiot he was and the 3 of us watch the dry brush burn . . .

Did I mention it was April and very VERY dry out . . .

Mike's 'genius' idea to clear by burning went over well . . .  for about 10 seconds when suddenly, WHOOOOSH! the fire spread quickly in a ring style from the starting point. Panicked we rushed to bury the fire in dirt but to no avail, the fire was spreading fast and instead of trying to stop, we bitched to each other. So after 5 minutes of trying to play fireman we decided to get out before we cook ourselves. We grabbed all the equipment and rushed back to the car only to go back to get my friend's camera that had fallen out of his pocket, oh and one of our friend's is not that good at hiking. So we literally picked him up and ran to my car. We took off like a bat out of hell as the fire burned. Being the responsible kids that we were, we headed off to alert the fire department of what was happening. There was no investigation and the fire department did an excellent job.

We went back a month later and found out that our little accident proved worthy to the land and the ashes left over from the fire promoted growth in the land as we saw green budding plants all over the burnt land. We may have nearly caused a huge forest fire but in the end we were able to bring life back to a lifeless land. A few years later we had gotten back into contact with an old friend of ours, only to learn that he was one of the volunteers who responded to that fire call. He said it was the most exciting thing to happen in spring in years.

1 comment:

  1. oh wow, nice story... post some more stories, they are good :)