It is hard to truly imagine the damage a house fire can bring if you haven’t experienced it yourself. I was outside with my dog, Desoto, my husband and my father-in-law. We had no idea what was happening until the fire alarm started to holler. The kids ran out of the house in their pajamas and slippers. The adults ran in and out trying to get everyone to safety, including my mother-in-law who was sleeping upstairs. Within minutes the smoke became too thick to see anything inside. Everyone was trying to get to her as we called out her name until finally she came out of the cloud.
Our kitten, Exmoor, and other two dogs, Dali and Mila, were still trapped inside. My brother-in-law managed to get the dogs, running in blindly and carrying them out. Despite trying over and over again, we could not get close to the basement which was where our kitten was trapped. That is also where the fire started and the thick smoke billowed out the stairwell. There was just no way to get to him. I fear he was already gone before we even knew the fire started, yet we still tried.
We looked like coal miners; our faces covered in black. The soot was everywhere and the smell is one that will haunt us for a long while. Trucks and firefighters poured in from our town and surrounding areas. The firefighters tore holes in the roof so the smoke could escape and they could fight the fire properly. It felt like an eternity before the fire was finally out.
My sister-in-law took the kids to her house so they didnt have to witness the chaos. My family and I didn’t know what to do. We wandered around, mostly, staring at the house in disbelief.
Everytime a firefighter came out, I hoped they had Exmoor in their arms. They never did. I felt like a little kid. My “voice of reason” said there was no way he could have made it but the child inside held out for hope. Unfortunately, the moment he was found was the same moment he was lost. He was only four months old and had survived so much in his short life but this was just too much. It is a tragedy what happened to you, Ex. I am truly sorry.
We recieved an immediate and tremendous amount of support from neighbors, friends, family, organizations, and so many more. Our heads were spinning but the community jumped right in to help us. I can never truly express how grateful I am to everyone.
Eventually we were able to go inside to see what was lost. What wasn’t incinerated was covered with soot and suffered smoke and water damage.
Much of our things were left unrecognizable. Electronics melted into goop while wood and cloth became char and ash.
The entire ordeal was surreal. I watched it all before my eyes yet I could not believe it was happening. Going through something like this has completely changed my perspective on a lot of things.
Though everything lay in ashes, the smoke has cleared and I can see the light down a new path. It will still take time for certain wounds to heal but the fire brought a violent and radical cleanse. This is the beginning of my next chapter.
Until next time,
“I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down; gonna stand my ground.”