Fire!

Not long ago Alan and I returned from a friend’s home to find our entire street blocked off from all three possible directions. Getting as close as we could, we discovered that our neighbor’s house was on fire!

We parked at a church down the road and walked home, stopping to see that our neighbors were okay. The elderly husband and wife both made it out, and three dogs, but they lost several other pets. My neighbors were in shock. “The only thing I thought to grab was my Bible! I don’t even have my purse, or any money, or my driver’s license!” the wife said sadly. Apparently, her husband was stoking their wood fire  in the basement and somehow it triggered a chimney fire.

Soon smoke and flames were billowing from the upstairs windows of the 100-year-old farm house. What a tragedy!!

Since one daughter was with them and another daughter’s home was available for them to stay at (while the daughter spent the winter in a Phoenix condo), we left them after giving them our name and number on a slip of paper in case they needed a place to stay while they recover what they can. Also, the Red Cross was there to help them. Sadly, I think there must not be much to recover, because the house was completely boarded up within a couple of days, and I haven’t seen or heard from them since.

What would you miss most if you lost all your possessions in a house fire? It occurred to me that what I would miss most are all the pictures and videos I’ve taken of the children over the years. This has inspired the “perfect” winter project…something I always dreamed of doing but never found the time to do. Joel is editing down all our videos into a “best of” for each year (working backwards from 2010). Stephen is scanning in all the pictures from our family photo albums, starting from 1973 when Alan and I got married as well as digitizing all the stories I read aloud to the kids (such as The Little House” series by L.I. Wilder) and making DVD’s of them. I am poring over my digital photo library from the past 10 years, making albums of pictures of kids, flowers, nature scenes, pictures related to biblical themes, etc. When we’re done, we’re going to make copies for each of the kids as a part of our family “heritage,” since we don’t really have much in the way of heirlooms for them. I can’t tell you how much FUN this project is, and it brings back so many happy memories!

So, I still feel a twang of terror every time I drive by my neighbor’s home, but I am glad it prodded me into doing what’s been on my heart to do for many years! Is there anything that you might do differently if you thought your house might go up in flames? How about spiritually? I’ve been thinking about that one too, because we never know when we will die!

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest…because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (I Corinthians 3:13)

4 thoughts on “Fire!

  1. Oh, that is so sad! How devastating to have to start over suddenly like that.
    I agree with you, it is definitely those irreplaceable things like pictures and keepsakes that I think I would miss the most.

  2. Our neighbor’s had a chimney fire on Friday night but the fire dept. put it out quickly with minimal damage. We brought their 7 children over to our house during the excitement and clean-up. Very scary. I’m sure they are thinking about their valuables too.

    See you Tuesday.

  3. What an awful thing to happen! On the other hand, how good that they got out in time! This would be a nightmare for anybody!

  4. Yes! We had a chimney fire when we lived in Ann Arbor about 25 years ago that really frightened us, but the fire department put it out for us too, before there was much damage. Praise God for phones and fire departments. I think Audrey’s old wooden house just caught fire so fast that despite four fire trucks, everything was pretty much ruined before they could get the flames out, although they worked like troopers and the exterior doesn’t look too bad (minus the roof). Brenda—how wonderful for you to be there and able to help the children.

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