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The story of the little girl found wandering on the West side reminded me of a blog post I was going to write about the time limits for cleaning up giant fire messes. The little girl had soot on her feet. The two year old was found near the pictured mess after a fire months ago (June 20th). Obviously by all the charred clothes still hanging from the docks, it was a ropa usada (used clothes) warehouse and it went up in flames lasting hours. It isn’t just downtown where fires have started because of fire code violations, many ropa usada warehouses pile up flammables up to their ceilings.
I have other pictures of overstuffed ropa usada warehouses but… I’ll post them some other time. Every morning I see fayukeros (both men and women who buy in the U.S. and sell in Mexico) walk by my house with their big bags folded neatly under their arms or little carts flat for the moment. In the evening, you see the trek back to the international bridge. One of these days I will stop one or two for an interview – hopefully they won’t be shy.
The fayukeros don’t consider the danger of crawling around the mountains of clothes to find what they think will sell. For one, the heat is unbearable in these warehouses but this is a business that feeds many families who sell at pulgas and have their own small shops. We may not want to stop this sort of mini-commerce but we should be aware of the danger around the corner of homes like the little girl’s. We also need to enforce our building and fire codes before one of these fires claims more than just a lot of ropa usada.
Oh yeah, and originally my post was going to be about the mess that is STILL there. If this little girl made it to the rubble. What other kids also play there?? And who else lingers around?