Saturday night I got home late with the kids from a family birthday party. Daniel was asleep in the Netherlands. I got the kids out of the car and carried the diaper bag into the house. I threw the diaper bag onto the counter next to the stove and got the kids upstairs for bedtime. I started gathering clothes and adjusted the air conditioner. A few minutes later all the smoke detectors went off in the house.
I thought maybe I had accidentally turned on the heater, because I smelled something burning. Sometimes the heater gives off a burning smell when you first turn it on for the season. I checked and it wasn’t the heater. I went downstairs, turned the corner and saw a big black cloud of smoke streaming into the living room. Then I make my way into the kitchen and see the diaper bag in a big ball of flames.
The fire extinguisher is under the sink which is pretty close to the fire. The kids are screaming. I can’t keep them back from the fire while I fight it, so I got everyone out of the house. I dial 911 while we ran across the street to my neighbor Zandy’s house. I think the fire department took the brunt of my freaking out. All I can remember saying “I live at [my address] and my house is on fire! My house is on fire!” Then later, “I’m sorry, I’ll calm down. It’s in the kitchen…” After that I banged on Zandy’s door. Her husband Bryan answered and I yelled, “My house is on fire! Do you have a fire extinguisher!?” He ran up the stairs and then ran into my house. My kids went into Zandy’s house the minute they opened the door.
I called my in-laws and all I said is, “My house is on fire! Please come!” They then called my sister-in-law, Denise, and brother-in-law, Matt, to come help, because they live closer. Matt was awesome and cleaned off a laptop and the ipad. After the fire he began cleaning up the kitchen a bit.
Bryan was able to take care some of the fire, then three fire trucks came. I stood outside with all the neighbors watching. I held Zander for a long time until my arm felt like it was going to fall off and then I sent him into Zandy’s house. My sister-in-law was checking on the kids. The whole ordeal was a bit surreal. I talked with firefighters and surveyed the damage.
Basically my diaper bag hit the knob on the stove and piece of the bag was near a burner. Then the bag caught on fire.
Waiting to Tell My Husband
Daniel was asleep in the Netherlands the entire time this was happening. I tried calling his hotel, but the room isn’t under his name and I didn’t know his room number. I texted him and waited for him to wake up and call me. He got an early flight home and got home Monday night. Obviously, he was glad that we are all okay.
There is tons of smoke damage and the entire house is covered in soot. I met with adjuster and restoration company Monday morning. It is going to take 2-3 months to get everything repaired and will be uninhabitable during that time. It is going to be a completely new house when it is done, because of the extent of the smoke damage.
For the duration of repairs our insurance is going to pay our rent and provide rental furniture. What can’t be cleaned will be claimed as a total loss. I have been living at my in-laws in between the fire and moving into our apartment. Thankfully we already had a place lined up to move into. We will have to put the house back on the market when the repairs are done. We are hoping it will sell fast so we won’t have to make double payments for long.
God is Good
Everything is a bit surreal, but I am confident God is in control. I keep seeing his grace in small ways. I never leave my purse in the car, but I did that evening. The stuff in boxes really helped keep some of the smoke off of them. I am praying for his provision for the deductible and all the other things we need. I will need to restock my pantry and fridge with the basics.
The fire has made me realize that God has a calling for my family that the devil hates. What God has for us is even bigger than we imagined. I want to travel with my family even more now than ever. I can’t wait to see what God does next and have a another testimony of his goodness and faithfulness.
Thank you to all my friends who have been praying for me! I’ll try and keep everyone updated as long as I have an internet connection.