As I've mentioned before, the novel I wrote when we first moved here introduced me to a guy who grew up in my new neighborhood at a time when the memory of the fire was, if not fresh anymore, still very much alive. John Pritchard, retired black CIA guy, was my guide to Collinwood and in Twice As Dead he introduced me to my new home.
Writers will tell you that characters come alive, make their own decisions, get into their own scrapes, and tell you stuff you didn't know -- which is as unnerving as it is amazing and wonderful. John helped me write myself home in this new place and he helped me learn about the fire. It was a big theme in the story of his friendship with Andy Corrigan, who was his best friend for life -- even when Andy was, like, twice as dead.
Here's what John said: