Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The roof is on fire...

Okay, this may seem like a funny title but it is not. This past Sunday a house two streets over from ours burned. to the ground. As in nothing left. Except, maybe, the front of the house. It was terrifying to watch. Kevin saw the smoke and said 'I think something is on fire in our neighborhood.' I, being often the Queen of denial, said 'no way'. But it was. I was heading out to Bloomingfoods so I said I would check it out. I drove over there and turned around. Kevin and Matthew were planning to walk down there to see the firemen. Luckily, I stopped them. The house caught fire by the shed and the fire spread from the wind maybe. It was hotter then heck and the wind was high. The roof was only a little on fire when I saw it initially. I told Kevin not to take Matthew because it would scare the life out of him.

I drove back over because I am a total rubber necker. I could not resist along with what seemed like a 100+ people. The fire was so hot and there had been an explosion. I just stood in awe, shaking and sad for the family. I thought of all the things that will be irreplaceable for that family. Most everything you work for in your life is tied up in your home. As luck would have it, the family of five was out when this fire started but still... I cannot imagine the grief that women and her kids were feeling. I happened to have found a spot far enough way that I could no longer feel the heat of the burning structure but ended up right next to the family. The mother just sobbed and crumpled before me and I could do nothing for her. I felt her immense pain and then her daughter came out ... ack. I left because it was like being a fly on the wall in someone else's living room family drama and I thought these people do not need me staring at them.

As I drove to the store, I thought about all of things that would be lost if that happened to us. The photos of our wedding, my childhood, and Matthew's 1st years. Matthew's beloved books and toys. The doll and blankets that my Granny made that are irreplaceable because she died many years ago. The delft blue plate my Oma and Opa gave to my parents when I was born. The many memories wrapped up in a house - the silly little story I wrote about in my previous entry that will be filed in my memories for ever of Matthew shushing us while Lucy slept. The little things that seemingly have no meaning to us every day - a tooth brush and tooth paste being in the same spot every day. The bed you have grown to love when you actually get to sleep in it. The little nooks and crannies that become like a glove, a second skin.

And surely a house can be rebuilt and the family was safe, you cannot take away the happiness of being a family and being together and safe, but it is just that sad moment when you stand back and see all that you have worked for, gone in less then 45 minutes - that is the part the made me want to run (which I did) home and hug my son & husband, pet my dogs and give them little treats. And feel grateful for my life and all that I have. It was such a horrible reminder that all having all the stuff in the world is wonderful and nice but at the end of the day if that happened to me I would be most grateful that while I might have "lost everything" namely my possessions, I would have lost nothing as long as my family (including our dogs) were standing around me after such a catastrophic event.

7 comments:

Tessie said...

Fire is my worst nightmare. I hope this family can recover, that is just so sad. We have a fire safe, but only have the bare essentials in there.

Welcome to our World said...

It was intense and frightening. I guess it is one thing to hear about it on the news and quite another to see it up close and personal like.

I have thought about the fire safe thing and/or a bank box but some of things are just not going to be kept anywhere safe that would be lost, you know?!

And to be honest, oddly (like your stranger danger post) I never really feared fire until Sunday!

jennifer said...

We have a "plan" of course, since I come from a line long of "planners" - Matias grabs the baby & external hard drive(s) that holds all of our pictures & I grab the two cats. And yes, Matias was instructed to grab those two things in that specific order.

Welcome to our World said...

Unfortunately, the computer is in the basement room so there would be no hard drive to be gotten but Matthew and the dogs would be my most important things to get out. I still want to put up the "signs" to tell fire fighters/ems people that there are dogs in the house as we keep them in crates during the day so there is no way they could get out on their own. UGH, just scary to think about...

Melissa said...

Very scary. An apartment building one street over from me burned while I was in college. It was very scary to watch especially since it was just after midnight when the blaze started and there were many people hanging out of their windows trying to get out. No one was injured, thankfully.

Obviously the kids and then the dogs would be our priorities. We actually recently started backing up our photos with an online backup service for, I think, $5 a month. So, we should be covered there if anything were to happen.

Kate's mom said...

Ugh! I am afraid of fires too! Did you watch the special on WTHR (Channel 13) about smoke detectors? There is a BIG difference between the ionized kind and the photo-something kind. The kind most people have in their houses are not designed to go off as quickly in a smoldering fire...which is wayyyy scary to me, since most deaths occur from smoke inhalation. Anyway, check it out at wthr.com. We went and switched our smoke detectors immediately after seeing that special.

Welcome to our World said...

I did see that special! Freaked us out too but apparently not enough to change the ones out that we have... What horrid parents we are... Hmm, we may have to look into that.