What Comes Around Ch 17 bit – Firehouse Rock

Sunlight was pouring into the stairwell above, between the bunk floor and the way up to the roof. Through a bear-sized hole knocked clear through solid brick.

Fire Marshal Bradley’s jaw worked. “…The hell?” he managed at last.

“I’m guessing sledgehammer.” The station chief rubbed at sore eyes. “Or something. We started asking around outside, but nobody saw nothin’.” His voice soured. “Or worse than nothing. God, the stuff on the streets people take-”

“Worse than nothing?” Domingo pounced.

The chief blinked at him, as if he’d forgotten the agent was there. Took a deep breath, and rolled his eyes. “One joker said he thought he saw a flying carpet.”

Right. Domingo nodded, sympathetic.

“Chief!” One of the firemen waved from the bunkroom door. “Look at this!”

Even with the cots, there was enough room to muddle in and stare up at a fire-scorched sprinkler head. “I take it that’s what set the alarms off?” Domingo observed. “Officer – Pullman?”

“Must have been; nobody smelled smoke when we rolled out.” Pullman’s handlebar mustache twitched in a frown as he squinted at sooty copper. “So is that weird, Chief, or what?”

“Weird,” Chief Lohan agreed.

“Definitely weird,” Bradley muttered, taking his gaze from the seared sprinkler down, then around, face darkening in a scowl as he kept looking.

“What am I missing?” Domingo asked quietly.

“Same thing I am. Flame source.” Bradley scratched at his sideburns. “Look. See how it’s burned? The glass shattered.”

“But there isn’t any….” Dom glanced down where Bradley had, catching glints of glass on the floor. “Hmm. That is how they’re supposed to work?”

“They’re supposed to work by going boom when the air hits a level of too damn hot,” Bradley said gruffly. “Only the air in here…?”

“Cool, sir,” Pullman reported. “Well, cool as it gets. Summer.”

As if Boston had any room to talk, next to summer in Chicago. Still, the man had a point. “You mean we’re looking at a localized fire,” Domingo said thoughtfully. He glanced at the other sprinkler heads; every bit of glass shattered, with more or less charring depending how close they were to this one source. “Directed fire. Nothing else is burned.”

“You think someone set off the sprinklers on purpose?” Bradley scowled. “Doesn’t make sense. Without the sirens, probably nobody would have woken up-”

“Chief!” Another fireman dragged a heavy pack out from under a cot, sending a golden-brown cell phone skittering across the floor. “Somebody was in here!”


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