Yes, I have been around but… it was the holidays. I had asked my mom who is visiting from up North to kick off my 2nd year anniversary (January 1, 2012 – literally, I did start this blog on the 1st) post. This is what she wrote:
Que Fregados, te felicito en tus dos años de existencia. Mi visita aquí en Laredo te quitó de tus fans por dos semanas pero disfruté mucho, especialmente de su weather (her Spanglish, not mine). Me hizo falta tiempo para disfrutar más, pero tuve tiempo para ver nacer este año 2012 chocando nuestras copas con buenos amigos de mi hija. Espero dejar mi casa del norte para venír más seguido a ésta cuidad que conozco desde que la Que Fregados vestía diapers. Aunque Laredo ha cambiado mucho desde que primero lo visite, ha sido lo mejor para mi hija inquieta. Felicidades, “Que Fregados” por existir y que sigas explorando y compartiendo.
Rough translation: “QF, congratulations on your two years of existing. My visit to Laredo has taken you away from your readers for two weeks but I really savored the visit, especially the weather. I needed more time to continue enjoying it but it let me see the birth of 2012 crashing/clinking our glasses with good friends of my daughter. I hope to travel from my house in the north more frequently to this city that I have known since QF wore diapers (paisanos, what can I say). Even though Laredo has changed much since I first visited, it has been the best for my restless daughter. Congratulations “QF” for existing and keep on exploring and sharing.”
Aw, my mom is the best!
Well, that was going to be the end of my blog post but then… KABOOM!! She was sitting right next to me at my computer when the explosion was heard. By now, almost everyone has heard it or read about it and a few were eye witnesses. I don’t pretend to be mainstream media – if I were, I would be getting paid big bucks, no? Ok, maybe not big bucks but I write for free and for fun.
It was solely coincidence that we heard the explosion and that I posted the reactions on Facebook. Then the pictures started coming in. Because there are so many Facebook “friends” on my account, I am in a unique position to be able to see what information other people were posting about the explosion that rocked 2012 :P. So I shared. And shared. And shared. What I was looking for was an official source or mainstream media but chaos rules when it is something so unexpected.
This is a repeat lesson for us all yet… I just don’t foresee much happening citywide. I had written about our lack of emergency communication in our community. I asked why we don’t hear about sirens that can let us know to evacuate, why we don’t have drills for different emergencies, we don’t have a system to at least let people know that the emergency is contained and they will be ok if they stay put. This is a quote from that past blog post:
A friend recently pointed out that when the question of where are the city’s emergency sirens, s/he was met with defensiveness by a certain city official who should know.
So I checked out what the State of Texas asks of municipalities – we can assume we probably met the minimum standards, or at least I hope.
So then I checked online to see what the city of Laredo has for its residents. Well, there is a plan but it still lists Luis Sosa as Fire Chief and Agustin Dovalina as Police Chief… hmmm… how long ago was that?
When thinking of my friend’s comment, I looked for the communications information. Again it looks like all agencies can communicate with each other but who is communicating with the public? I guess I have to keep in mind that this was written for a Homeland Security grant … I’m wondering where is the practical plan?
If there is one for the public, this public (me) doesn’t know.
Higher Education institutions now have texting mechanisms for potential evacuations in case of things like shootings but what does a city have? The explosion occurred a few minutes after 11:00pm, after the news media was off-air and probably too late to run the story in the local Laredo Morning Times (although they are awake at this time, now that it has to be printed in San Antonio & get back to Laredo in time for distribution…not sure what will be seen on the front page). Where did people go?? Twitter and Facebook and any other social media.
City officials or emergency responders or mainstream media may not like it but there was no other communication coming from “official” sources. The first notice from el vocero from Laredo Police Department said this:
Although his language is a bit condescending (ok, more than a bit but I don’t think this is the “official” LPD facebook page), at least it was something for people to go on and appease some of the concern.
This may be the way 2012 begins, with a freak accident, but hopefully not how it continues. Thank you for those who followed the shares and posts (I neglected my twitter account, sorry) and hope no one was hurt in this horrible explosion.
Now I am off to bed because I just heard my parents say “¿Cuando vas ha apagar la luz?” (when are you going to turn the light off). Yikes! So much for their vacation in peaceful, calm, warm Laredo when their fregadita keeps them awake after they had just gotten over the earlier explosion scare.
The most current update on the explosion is on the Laredo Morning Times page: