Sunday, March 30, 2014

Square of Fire

Yesterday was quite a difficult day here.  We woke up and it was a "normal" day - as most days typically start when the least expected actually happens.  But, yes, yesterday was indeed a "normal" Saturday.  Like most days, I did wake up with a headache and when I went back to bed, I was abnormally sleepy because I had taken one of my rather strong migraine pills.  By the time I got back up, it was a little after 11 in the morning, and John and Olivia had left to go help a family member move.
I decided that since it was raining and kind of a dreary day, I would do one or two loads of laundry.  Washed the first load and put in the dryer, then proceeded to make lunch for myself.
As I was just finishing up my delicious lunch, I had started to "smell" something weird.
I immediately looked at the candle that was lit on the coffee table, thinking that maybe a tissue had caught it's flame, but had realized that wasn't where the smell was coming from.  I looked out at the kitchen stove to see if I had left one of the burners on.  As I stood up to look at the stove, the smell instantly got stronger and I could actually see smoke rising to the ceiling in the kitchen.
That's when my heart started to pound.  My throat went insanely dry and my eyes were darting around everywhere looking for the source of the smoke and the smell.

Then it hit me.

The dryer had stopped running.  I couldn't hear it anymore.
I started back the hallway and almost passed out from the smoke!  It was so thick back the hallway!  I walked further back to where the laundry area was, and found the source of the troubles.  There was smoke literally pouring out of the top of the dryer.  Just billowing out of it!  I was mortified!

We always joked about burning the place down for a nice big fat insurance check, but never in a million years would I want to lose everything we owned!  I mean, we may live in a house that is a genuine P.O.S. and it may be falling apart around us, but it's also where all of our home videos are.  It's also where 13 years of memories were made.  It's also the place that we come home to every night and wake up to every morning.  So, sure the grass can always be greener, but I really didn't want to find out how green it was yesterday.

So, I picked up my cell, dialed 911 and as calmly as possible, explained to the nice lady on the other end what was going on.  She asked all the normal questions.
"Did I see any flames?"  No.
"Is there anyone else in the house?"  No, well, yes.  I have a Siamese cat that has suddenly went AWOL.
"Can you safely leave the home?"  Yes.

As I stepped outside, I ended up dropping my phone and it shattered the case around the actual phone.  The phone itself wasn't damaged, so I picked it back up and realized the 911 wasn't there anymore.  I just started hearing the sirens so I called John.  For some reason, as soon as John picked up and I heard his voice, I started to cry.  I mean, I started bawling!   I had a very difficult time telling my husband that all of our worldly possessions might be a large, heaping, smoking pile of ash in a few minutes.
Against the 911's dispatcher's advise, I decided to take one last look in the house for Apollo after I had hung up from John and he assured me that he was on his way home.
I still couldn't find my cat!  I was so worried for him!  I mean, we had just lost Molson a few weeks ago and I couldn't bear the thought of saying good bye to the last remaining Olley household pet, especially to a fire!


Anyhow, the firetrucks had finally arrived.  I was standing outside, shivering from the rain, being held up by my walking cane, and I flagged them down.  About 4 or 5 trucks and 30 firemen had showed up.  I spoke with the first one, explained to him where the fire was, where the laundry area was and that I had a cat inside.

He and his partner entered the house and I stood there and watched my neighbors all pile out of the homes to stare at the shut in from down the road.  Yes, me...

I couldn't help but wipe a few tears from my eyes, as I listened to the firemen bang on things, and walk in and out of my house, sometimes one at a time, sometimes 3.  They would come out and ask me a few things, like how could they open up the back door, to which I sarcastically replied (and I don't know why I found it odd that a fireman couldn't figure out how to unlock a simple door) "Uh, you just unlock it and push out."
One other fireman came out and asked me where the power box was, and I had to explain to another man that he had to go into the master bedroom and look to the left of the closet and he'll find the case.
A few minutes later, Olivia was standing right in front of me!  I started crying and grabbed her and hugged her so tightly that she told me she couldn't breathe.  I saw John and did the exact same thing to him.
We got to a point in this whole ordeal that we just had to stand there and watch what was happening.
John and I just stayed there, his arms wrapped around me, and I had a hold of Olivia.

About 20 or so minutes later, the chief of Ladder 49 walked over and told us we could safely go back in the house.  We were to turn the "investigation" over to our insurance company.  And that the fire had actually started inside the dryer.  The way he talked about it led us to believe that there must have been a short in one of the fuses and that it wasn't from lint or anything like that.

I won't know the full story to we get a hold of our insurance company tomorrow.  Until then, we have to do our laundry elsewhere and try to fix what was damaged.  Most of it was minimal damage, but the emotional scars will take some time to heal.

I hope that God has nothing else in store for us to deal with.  Between all of us getting so sick, Molson dying, the fire that almost took out our home, I am not sure if I can deal with much more drama.  I have so many health issues and just know that all of this catastrophe that seems to love us is making me feel so much worse...
Tomorrow, first thing, I am going to call State Farm and find out what the next step is regarding a new washer and dryer.
Thanks for reading and take care!

ps - Apollo was hiding under our bed in the master bedroom.  He was freaked out, but otherwise unscathed...

(I don't have an actual photo of the dryer as it was burning up, but I googled searched for a dryer fire image and found one that will show you what the firemen had encountered but were able to put out in time)

This is NOT our dryer, ours is actually an over/under washer dryer set...

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