A fire in my apartment!

Yes, that’s right, I said fire! On the day after Memorial Day I had a fire in my apartment. I have to tell you, it was quite an experience at the time! ! I was working on my blogs. I wanted to check on all my “milguys and gals” to see what happened with everyone over the holiday. My daughter was at her night class at college and my son was asleep because he works all night.

About the time the “X-files” ended and “Stargate” came on I was blogging like crazy and listening to my show. I heard a “sizzle” and saw a flash of light out of the corner of my eye like someone just took a picture with a camera. I was so startled at first I didn’t even react. Then I turned around to see what the noise was and what caused the flash. I didn’t see a thing. Didn’t even hear a sizzle. Then I cursed the DVRD because I just knew that the dumb energy saver had kicked in and it had shattered my concentration.

I sat back down and tried to get those mental juices flowing again. I had an idea about something I wanted to write about on my blog. I had no sooner got started than I heard that “sizzle” sound again and saw another flash of light out the corner of my eye. I decided that maybe it was a bad cord or one of my surge protectors.

I got up and checked all my appliances and electrical cords. Everything was ok. No fuses were out. The surge protectors were still ok. I was getting a little worried. It didn’t make any sense. I thought , damn I must be going into another phase of flashbacks.

Sights, sounds, smells, you name it and I have had them in my flashbacks. I looked over at my son and he was still asleep. Then I started to hear the sizzle more loudly this time. It was turning into more of a hum. It now sounded a lot like when a transformer blows out on the poles in summer time or during an electrical storm. Now I’m worried.

That meant fire! But where? Then I remembered that the fuse box was in a big walk-in closet. We always kept that door closed to keep dust and my cats out. I woke my son and told him I thought we had a fire somewhere and we needed to check in the closet. Since we are trying to paint, we had a bunk bed and old mattress blocking the door. We also had boxes of things I had packed temporarily to make it easier move them as we painted our apartment.

We moved the bed, boxes, and mattress. My son opened the closet. As he stuck his head in the door smoke was rolling out. He yelled that there were flames in the fuse panel. Well, I started moving everything away from the door and the wall that would add more fuel to the fire if it got in the walls. I got the phone to call 911 and my son was looking for the fire extinguisher. But I told him to forget it because it wouldn’t work on an electrical fire. I didn’t know if it mattered if anything was plugged into outlets so I unplugged everything.

The 911 call dropped so I asked my son to go outside and call 911 again. He has bad asthma and took in a lot of smoke. Then he yells back to me that I unplugged the phone, lol. I told him to use a neighbor’s phone. Then I tried to find my cats. They wouldn’t come out. The fire terrified them so they were hiding. Then I went to the doors of my three neighbors to let them know we had a fire.

None of them were home. I tried again to get my cats. I was terrified they would die from the smoke if the fire didn’t kill them. I was afraid the whole 4 apartment unit was going to go up in smoke. My son kept trying to get me to go outside and stay there and I’m still moving potential things that might help the fire spread and looking for my stupid cats. About this time, the police and fire department got here. They made me go outside. There I was in my pajamas and these big, ugly hiking boots, looking like a crazed woman asking for a cigarette to help calm me down.

Well, they fire was contained pretty quickly. All the other apartments were checked and ok. The only thing I didn’t do was really lose it and wet my pants. The whole block was in front of my apartment. Smoke was still emptying out the door and we were waiting for the power company so the firemen could go back inside and make sure the fire hadn’t spread between the walls.

When it was all over and I finally calmed down my kids went to stay with mom a couple days because they work nights and we had no power. All 4 units had no hot water. The fuse for the hot water heater started the fire. My cats fared best of all except for the big scare. To my surprise the owner thanked me because several months ago another apartment was gutted by fire when that fuse panel caught fire.

By 3:00 p.m. the next day, there was a nice new panel with circuit breakers installed and the next afternoon the power was turned back on after they got a copy of the inspection of the panel by the county. The next morning the hot water was gone. The heating element in the water heater had to be replaced. All in all though, we were all very lucky. The old fuse panel looked like used charcoal. All I could think of was if it had happened the day before on one of the rare occasions when no one was home things would have been very different.

Then I remembered when I was a small child one Christmas day. Mom was cooking Christmas dinner and dad was at work. We were all playing with our new toys. Mom ran out of salt and asked us to play in the living room while she borrowed some salt from our neighbor. Suddenly smoke was rolling out of the kitchen. I had my brother and sisters, that were old enough, help me carry all our toys outside onto the front porch. Mom couldn’t have been gone more than 5 minutes, but smoke was everywhere. As she came out the neighbor’s house she saw the smoke and us kids taking our toys outside.

She came running home and up the front steps into the house to the kitchen. She found the glass baking dish the turkey was in had broken and the grease caught on fire. She used the salt her neighbor gave her to put out the fire. Then in some strong but appropriate measures she helped us learn the correct steps to take in a fire. It didn’t include taking the toys outside first, I can promise you! Of course as I grew older I came to understand how fear can bring a parent to their knees where their kids are concerned. I only had two, though I did miscarry two. My parents raised six kids and we all turned out pretty good. I don’t know how they survived it all!

I am sure a great deal of my fear was fed by the memories of that earlier fire. Not the punishment but the thought of losing all those really neat toys. Kids certainly have their own ideas of what is important.


~ by devildog6771 on June 9, 2005.

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