Wednesday, October 31, 2007

9-1-1, What's your emergency?

"Our house is filled with smoke!!!" Yes, folks. That was me at about 4:00 today.
The boys and I had just arrived home from our usual afternoon walk. We were gone for about an hour, walked into the back door, and were greeted with thick, white smoke. Looked like a scene out of the movies - couldn't see much of anything.

I quickly ushered the boys and the dogs outside, set Xavier in the grass, told Ben to stay put, and ran back into the house, locking the door behind me so Ben wouldn't follow. Ran from room to room to see if I could find the source. It was hard to see, there was smoke on both levels of our house. I couldn't see anything that was obviously on fire, but knew I needed to get out of there fast. I stood in the kitchen for a couple of seconds and thought, "this is it. what do I save? We're going to lose everything." I grabbed my car keys, my laptop with all our pictures on it, and the phone and dashed outside.

Called 9-1-1. Neighbors ran into the house looking for the fire too, with no luck. God bless our volunteer firefighters, they were here quickly, with an awesome response time of about 5 minutes. I was trying to get Nick on his cell...all sorts of thoughts going through my head - where will we live? what will we do?! we're just finishing up the kitchen, and now this? what special, irreplacable memories are we going to lose? I'll never forget Benny looking at me, saying, "Mommy, what the matter? Why there smoke in the house? Mommy, don't cry!!" (I was...hard not to at that point.)

The fire fighters opened windows and used a giant gas powered fan to ventilate the house. Smoke was billowing out of the windows. Truly scary.

The culprit? A fire on our cooktop. A 3 ring binder had been sitting next to it, got bumped, and somehow turned on the burner (very low) and landed with an edge on the burner. Probably happened when I was cleaning in that area right before we left. Thank God we came back when we did. Or we could have lost everything. No, we were very, very lucky. Now everything just stinks like smoldering plastic. We can deal with that.

To the rescue! Ben was absolutely beside himself with excitement - firemen at his house! He ran over and picked up someone's helmet and respirator mask that had been left unattended and put them on. He followed them around like a little puppy outside (this was after the initial flurry of activity had died down). He gave out lots of hi-5's.

Xavier was relaxing with Nick's mom (she came after I called her, immediately after my 9-1-1 call). You know what I find pretty miraculous? Xavier is terrified of sirens, whether they're loud, or if you can barely hear them, he turns bright red and screams uncontrollably. None of that today, even though they were very close and loud...its as if he knew they were coming to help us this time. And that was ok with him.

So the damage was very minimal, considering the amount of smoke the smoldering/fire caused. The cooktop (which has a life expectancy of approximately 1 week due to the remodel) was the only thing damaged. The blue thing on the burner was a wheel off of Xavier's toy truck that had been sitting on top of the binder.

Hope this wasn't important...unopened mail :)


Melissa said...

Yikes, that's scary! Glad all is okay and you still managed to have a great Halloween!

Rachel said...

Oh my gosh Kristy! What a scary mess! I am so glad that you guys are okay and that you got back in time. Especially after this whole Summer of remodeling and stuff. How stressful!!!
What a story!!!!

Denea said...

Oh my Kristy! What a scary situation. I'm so glad everything is alright.