Thursday, September 1, 2011

Up in Flames

Not my picture. News channel picture.
 The alarm was loud, blaring, but not the alarm that usually sounded. It was high pitched, like a computer with a cranked volume had a serious error and I immediately closed from the website I was on. It took me a few moments to realize it was coming from the apartment building and not from my computer. My mum had come from her room and was in the process of putting on her shoes with the intent to try and figure out where the sound was coming from.
All of a sudden there was a pounding on the door followed by "Get up! This is real, you have to get out! There's a fire!" That was when the panic set in. I screamed to my father to hurry, causing a small argument that was ended with another neighbor pounding on our door.
Mum slipped the harness on our dog, who was at her feet. The cats were hidden and we were forced to leave without any of our other pets. We followed the stream of our neighbors, all pounding on the doors they passed. There were no flames or smoke. Just a bunch of terrified people who didn't know if they were ever going to see their stuff again.
We left the building and merged with the people who had already gotten out.
It took us a while to see the flames but they were already impressive. The end apartments had already be engulfed in flames that topped on the roof. The apartment building is in four sections. We were in the third. But people were going back to their apartments to get the animals they left and I turned my attention to keeping a deaf, collarless dog from wandering off while the owner went to get her cat. The fire has spread quickly over the roof and we knew it'd be to risky to go get our pets. A flaming piece of the building fell of and onto the sidewalk making everyone jump even though we were far away.
As the officers and fire fighters finally arrived we wandered to the front and towards the other buildings, safe and out of the way. Flames and smoke were starting on the second section, getting closer and closer to my apartment. For a while all I could see was smoke coming from close by where my apartment was. I was horrified, not knowing if I'd have a home to go back to and fearing all my pets were dead.
I felt like it took forever for the flames to get put out. No one could tell us what was going on and everyone was just standing around.
Finally the Red Cross was able to give us some sense of direction and we were able to put our pets on a list to get rescued. I couldn't stand waiting around until I learned whether they were alive or dead so my grandparents took me to pick up some things at Walmart since we were staying with them for the night. I went in the store with my dog... barefoot.
In the end we were lucky. My apartment is fine. My pets are all alive. But our life is on hold while we wait to be able to move back into our home. We're staying in the building across from ours, in the half moved out apartment of a family member. Every morning we wake up and see the damage. I jump at every alarm. I wake up at every noise. We can't move back for a couple of weeks which means that I'll be starting school away from home. We can go back to the apartment and pick things up but it seems like something is always missing.
But today I was able to get a fragile WiFi signal. So the blog is back up, which should prove to be some entertainment. Posts might not be as wonderful as they would be if I house... but it's something.
No one died in the fire; no one was even seriously injured. But a few pets were lost. Half the building is destroyed, thirty homes are unlivable. And I can't help but think that we might not have left in time if it wasn't for the people who took the time to warn us. I can't thank them enough. Nor the firemen, the Red Cross, the Army Surplus, and the staff at the apartment complex.
My heart goes out to those who lost everything and I wish them luck in starting over.
What it use to look like...

And for the record, the fire was started on a deck by either a cigarette or a candle flame. One small mistake. Please be careful for your sake and for the sake of those around you.


  1. Oh no, that's horrible! How did the fire start?

    Well, I'm glad you're okay and so are your family/pets. I hope you get to move back in soon.

  2. Hope you all are alright. That's awful. I probably won't ever know what it's like to be in a fire or be in a place with fire, but I suppose I would react the same way. "This is real .. this is happening .. right now?"

    It probably stinks starting school away from home. I know I'd be disoriented!

  3. *Hugs.

    I know you don't know me, but my heart goes out to you & those who lost everything in the fire.

  4. Thank you so much to everyone who commented. Your support meant a lot to me and I wish you never have to go through anything of what I did.