Saturday, April 30, 2011
My House... on Fire...
So... this is not a figurative title for a blog post... my house was literally on fire! On March 31st I was having a late lunch with one of my HS friends. I checked my phone as we were finishing up and noticed that I had 3 missed calls from Hubby, no texts... just missed calls. That was quite unusual, so I immediately called him back... and he said, "Where are you?!". I explained that I was out at lunch and then he told me that he was on his way home, that he got a call at work from a neighbor saying that flames were shooting out of our roof, and that I needed to get home. He had thought that I was home that day (I'd forgotten to tell him about the lunch).
I turned to my friend and said, "I have to go. Apparently, my house is on fire!"
I live 2 minutes from the restaurant we were at and arrived to a street, blocked off by police. I spoke to the officer, explained that it was my house, and he pointed out a spot I could park and then walk over to where a fireman would meet me and explain what had happened.
This is a completely surreal experience to find oneself in. You see it on TV, the movies, read about it in books... but your house is never supposed to be the one! My neighbor from across the street (a retired fire chief) walked up to me and said that he had been outside and saw the flames, shooting out of the roof, up into the air. His wife called 911 as he kicked down our side door, went through the house in search of people, pets, and then pictures (he called it the 3 P's). The man is a saint! He pulled pictures off my walls and laid them outside until he decided it was unsafe for him to be in there. He explained that the smoke was down to his knees as he moved through the house!
The firefighters were an amazing crew... managing to contain the fire to the attic (where it had started) and used a combo of water and foam to combat it. There was minimal damage to our personal property (they were able to lay tarps across our furniture etc - before parts of the ceiling collapsed). But... our house is toast. We are looking at a complete rebuild! We found out, 4 days after the fire, that wiring in a fan that exhausted hot air out of the attic and through the roof was the cause of the fire.
Another friend of mine was able to pick up my kiddos from their 2 different schools that day... and lie to them - saying that I was at lunch and running late. When I picked them up later that day, I explained the truth... telling them that their house was un-livable was a very hard thing to do. Watching my kiddos sob at the loss of the only home they have known was heart wrenching.
My family - of 5 people and 3 dogs - moved in with my in-laws for 3 weeks, until we secured a rental house (which the insurance has signed a 6 month lease on). My in-laws are great - but live about 40 minutes from the kids' schools. We were driving great distances and waking up super early every day. It was a stressful situation. We've been in a rental house for exactly 1 week now, and life is beginning to gain it's rhythm again. The rental is about a half a mile from our home - which is good!
Now we are faced with choosing the right Re-construction Contractors for us... and start the rebuild of our home. My huge silver lining in this awful situation is a new house. It is not the way that I would ever have chosen... but I get to remodel and update our entire house... and that is kinda great!
So, I am going to do my best to focus on the positive as we move through this next adventure in our lives!