An Up and Down Day

Joel's Journal - January 8, 2018 - Volume 3 - Entry #8


The clock had yet to hit 6 a.m. and the words were already flowing. 

Perhaps it was the momentum carried over from the solid weekend of writing, or perhaps it was fuelled by a new found motivation to kick some serious novel writing ass. Whatever it was, I was happy to be awake, sipping coffee and typing away (albeit perhaps a little blurry-eyed). 

It was a bright start to a day that would get a little darker once I arrived at the office. 

My drive out of the city was quick, and before heading to my office, I made at stop at Lake Ontario to get a look at the ice build-up and perhaps see if there were any photo-worthy opportunities for our front page. 

It was fairly quiet, probably spurred by the driving winds and flurries of snow. I snapped a few pictures anyway, then quickly retreated to my car. My thin denim jacket was doing little to block the cold wind blowing off the lake. 

I dropped into my chair and plugged in my headphones for what I hoped was going to be a solid writing and editing session ahead of laying out some pages. However, those plans were quickly derailed when I got word of the tragic fire that had killed four people earlier that morning. A collection of other news outlets already posted updates, and we were way behind. A bad morning to take off I guess. 

I immediately dropped what I was doing and headed down to the site with my camera and notebook. 

It was mostly blocked off, but I managed to get close enough to the caution tape to walk around and find my way closer to the house. I cut through an apartment parking lot and joined up with the media frenzy that was already lined up on the other side of the caution tape. I counted about five TV cameras and a few scattered photographers. 

It was big (and tragic) news. The flames were out when I arrived, but four people had lost their lives in the fire, two of them children. Talking with the fire chief after, he shared that three of the victims were actually still inside the house, a fact that I probably could have gone without. 

Now, the way these things work is that the fire service, along with the Office of the Fire Marshal, a provincial entity, will conduct an investigation to determine how the fire started and whether any blame is in order. If so, that could lead to charges and potential jail time for the landlord or building owner. 

There’s a bunch of questions, top of mind being the reports that 11 people were inside the two storey house when it went up in flames. There’s speculation that it was an illegal rooming house, but that hasn’t been confirmed. 

I tried to push all of the speculation aside as I wrote my update for the website, addressing many of the questions that the chief was asked, and putting the chief’s answers, despite the fact that many of them were non-answers and replies that it was too early to speculate. 

I’m sure more information will come to light over the next couple days, but for now, I prefer to stick to the facts and leave the speculation for Facebook. 

I managed to eventually get my editing and layout started back at the office, but before any writing could be done, I was off to a 6:30 budget meeting at city hall. It was the first opportunity for council to hear from members of the public regarding the budget. It didn’t disappoint. The Oshawa Express also got a pretty big shout out from a resident who noted “without that paper, nobody would have any idea what is happening in this city.”

So, that felt pretty good. 

On that bright note, I’ll leave you to enjoy your Tuesday and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Yesterday, I noted that I needed to talk about the edits for my two finished novels, What We’ve Become and Tegan. Today’s entry ran a little long, so I’ll be sure to talk about that tomorrow!





Joel Wittnebel