A Real Life Fire Drill

February 9, 2009 8:53 am Published by

Last night we had an interesting life experience — one of our neighbors’ home caught fire and burned to the ground.

For those of you who don’t know, we live out in the country surrounded by trees.  There are 8-10 homes in our area, with woods (currently very dry woods) in between homes.
Around 11:30 p.m., my daughter, Lizz, came into our room and said she thought she heard gunshots and then sirens.  Just then the phone rang and the wife of the leader of the county firefighters in our area called saying our neighbor’s house was engulfed in flames; she asked that we call our neighbors so we could all take preventative steps — it has been extremely dry with fire warnings posted; and the wind was blowing 25-30 mph.

We looked out our bedroom window and saw huge flames and an orange glow (about a quarter of a mile away), and then saw ashes and glowing embers coming down and settling into the trees next to our home.  After calling our neighbors, we kicked into emergency mode — getting the hoses going, loading up our cars with our computers and some other belongings, and then scouring the woods for any additional fires.

In actuality, we found a fire that had started in the top of a tree in the woods and directed the firefighters to it, where they had to carry portable tanks to put it out.  The “neighborhood” was out and shared our own personal stories of when we heard or saw the fire.  It is unclear how the fire started and the family actually was out of town.  Their home was totally burned to the ground and it was reported that their cars essentially were melted.

It then started to rain (we haven’t had rain for several weeks) which obviously lowered the risk for secondary fires starting; and the firefighters had the house fire under control.

When trying to go to sleep, I then reviewed how we did in our emergency response and what I would do differently.  I learned a few practical things — I need to take some practical steps so I can shoot water higher on the roof; and we need some other resources to get water up on the higher levels of our home.

In reviewing the experience, Kathy and I felt like we managed the situation well and discussed what belongings we would have gathered next (a few sets of clothes, our personal tax documents for this year, and family history photo albums that we don’t have electronic versions of the pictures).

All in all, we were extremely thankful for God’s protection of our home and of our neighbors’.  Additionally, in thinking about the neighbors who lost their home, the temporal nature of our belongings was emphasized to us — and caused us to think about those aspects of our lives that endure — family, friends, our character, and the freedoms and opportunities we have each day.

If you haven’t recently, I would encourage you to think through your own emergency plan – and to be thankful for what you have and your personal safety.

Have a good week!


Published by
February 9, 2009 8:53 am

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