Sienna had 2 girlfriends at our house for a sleep over. about 12:30 she runs into our room,”theres a fire!” I gather the kids computers phones etc. sam runs out, shouts back in, “it’s big!”
We run out the front door. its the house 2 doors down. totally in flames. Please understand, we live in a mobile home park. Properties are about 10 feet apart. the trees are starting to go. the fence. the roof next door. sam grabs a hose and sprays the house next to the fire to keep it from going up. the kid across the street hits the other fence with a couple of fire extinguishers. The next door neighbor clamors to his roof top to wet it down. the fire is raging. the whole trailer is engulfed. i grab sienna, her friends and the two daughters who’s house was on fire and plant them next to my car ready to blast out of there if the fire comes this way. then i run around back to knock on everyone’s doors and make sure they’re awake and aware and hitting their fences and rooftops with hose water.
People are screaming. scrambling for hoses. i run back to my house where a paramedic has arrived. where’s the fire trucks? a minute later 5 trucks pull in and get to work. unraveling hose, throwing on masks.
My next door neighbors are running out of their house with arms full of files. dropping them everywhere. we pick them up and throw them in my car. next came the dogs. all three of them out of their yard where the fence was about to go and into mine.
The firemen get to work blasting the trees and rooftops, trying to save the car in the driveway. one of the firemen yells at sam to keep the pressure on the other house with the garden hose. it’s Gene Rink, an old friend of Sam’s who is a world class paddle board racer. sam tries to rescue our friends grandmother’s antique surf board from the driveway of the house he’s trying to save but the heat is way to intense. he has to stand back.
Time seems to be expanding. The firemen are busting their butts blasting the fire with 2 big hoses but the fire doesn’t seem to care. It just continues raging up into the trees, over into the other homes. will they ever knock that fire out?
The young mother whose house is in flames stands in my walkway staring up at her house in shock. cant say much of
anything. cant move. just stands there. all she can say is. ” it was the dryer. it just caught on fire. It was the dryer.”
the night seemed to go on forever.
When it was all said and done, the house was a total loss. Completely gutted. Not one wall standing. but in the course of all that drama, people came together. that night we shared in the horror and fear, but we also shared our hoses, our blankets, our clothing our food our beds, our support. a home with all its contents was burned to the ground, never to be seen again. but friendships were forged. acts of kindness expressed and experienced. blessings, never to be forgotten. friendships never to be forgotten. these are the moments that help shape one’s life. these are the moments that define and build one’s character. as each of us stepped up to the challenges of that emergency, seeds were planted on fertile ground. Our children, our mates, our friends and neighbors discovered we had a little more to give and wondered what more lie beneath. For we learned in the course of one eventful evening that each of us carries deep within, much more power and courage, generosity and intelligence than ever before acknowledged. And we were