Our House is on Fire!
On Friday, January 4, 2019 we were forced on an adventure I would not wish on my worst enemy. Painful does not even begin to describe it. Roy had been in the garage getting his beehives ready to house his bees that were coming in April. I had been cleaning house, I had already cleaned and polished my stainless steel appliances when I stopped and fixed us a late lunch. We were half-way into eating our sandwiches when we both heard a very loud “pop”. Roy got up and went to the garage where the sound came from. The garage was on fire!!
Roy grabbed the fire extinguisher that was in the laundry room by the garage and yelled for me to call 911. It was just a little fire extinguisher and it ran out of “juice” right when he thought the fire was out. The fire re-ignited and spread, he had no choice but to leave it and get out. It was 2:16 p.m. I will never forget that time! I ran barefoot out the front door calling 911. The operator asked what my issue was and then said she was transferring my call – what?? I don’t have time for that, my house is on fire! So I had to tell what the reason for my call was for a second time. At 2:22 p.m. I texted our 3 kids that our house was on fire and to please pray!
One heart-breaking loss besides the house was my van that was parked in the garage. Who knew a conversion van would melt. Everything was burned or melted inside, the paint on the outside of the van was burned off. All of the windows had even melted. But there was one strange and “funny” thing that not only did not burn but was not even singed. I use toilet paper instead of Kleenex and I had a roll on the middle console between the front captain chairs. There was not a speck of black on it!
After what seemed like an eternity and answering hundreds of questions from the city fire inspector, the cause of the fire could not be determined. The insurance inspector would also come to the same conclusion a week later.
Our neighbors were amazing throughout the day and are still supportive in many ways today. They stood with us during the fire and have looked out for our property since the fire. More on the many ways they have aided us in upcoming posts. They are amazing people and we are blessed to be their neighbors, one couple for over 18 years another for about 10 years.
The ladies from the Red Cross were amazing. They arrived almost as soon as the firemen did. They helped us get Roy’s medicines out of the house so they wouldn’t be damaged. They stayed with us for several hours and provided funds to make sure our immediate needs were met and until the insurance could see to our long-term needs. My husband had a wheelchair in the living room and they made sure it was still safe for use and if not they would see about a replacement. They stayed with us for several hours to allay our fears. They called us several times the following week to check on us and see if there was anything else we needed. I will never forget the kindness and generosity shown to us by the ladies of the Red Cross.
I called the insurance company at approximately 4:00 p.m. and placed a claim on both the house and the van. Now we had to wait and worry through the weekend to see what the next steps would be.
From the time I texted my kids at 2:22 to get their prayers, Scott & Valerie who live out of state called to check on us and Gabe and his wife, Cindy, who live near us, took off work and came to be with us to help us through the ordeal. They even brought me a Dr. Pepper! After the firemen left, Gabe and Cindy packed all the food in the refrigerator into an ice chest and helped us get clothes, etc. since there was no way we could stay in the house.
Since the house could no longer be locked up because the garage doors and the door to the laundry room burned, Gabe borrowed his father-in-law’s pickup and went and purchased plywood to bar the entry way to the rest of the house. After we left for a hotel, I remembered I had left our lock box (which was unlocked) and he had to go back and get it for me. We kept Gabe and Cindy running that afternoon, I am sure they were quite exhausted. They have been a continual source of strength and help and we could not have gone through it without them. We are blessed and so grateful for them.
We decided to stay at an Extended Stay hotel not far from our house. It had a full kitchen and was in a good neighborhood. It had been a grueling day and I didn’t realize how much in shock I was until we got into the room and I couldn’t figure out how to flush the toilet. I had to ask Cindy to show me. The button was under a box of Kleenex, but still I couldn’t even think clearly enough to move the box! I have always heard about people being in shock, but this was a new feeling for me.
On Saturday, we were still in shock but grateful for coming through the ordeal. Our daughter Valerie and her husband Heath, their kids Wylie and Myka came and brought us care packages from their church that included, clothing, kitchen utensils, etc. and cash gifts. They are pastors of a wonderful church that has the most generous body of believers in Vici, OK. The best gift that weekend though was being able to hug them and we were so grateful for their visit.
Our three children and their families are our greatest blessings and we are so grateful to them all for being there for us, lifting us up in prayer and getting us through this ordeal.
We appreciate the prayers offered on our behalf from our family, friends and the pastor who met us that night at the hotel and prayed with us. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated!
I will continue our story in subsequent posts that tell about our temporary housing, dealing with the insurance company, our horrible experience with a general contractor, attorneys and everything we have learned along the way. Unfortunately, I cannot say this adventure has been boring or stress-free!
Here are just a few of the hundreds of pics!
My name is Vicky, and after researching my family history since 2000, I have found amazing stories that need to be told. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!