Monday, September 3, 2012

The Fire

The fire was a big turning point in my life and it's very hard for me to talk, or write about it without being right back there. So get comfortable because if you haven't already figured out I have a really good memory and I give a lot of detail.

The day of the fire was May 10th 2010, it was a Monday. The day before just happened to be Mother's Day, and well Mother's Day since I became a mommy has really kinda sucked for me, but that's another story. On Sunday Chris, the girls and I went over to the in-laws then to my sister's house. My sister and brother-in-law had a swing set in the back of their yard for years and since most of the kids were to old to go on it they were going to take it down. Before that happen we wanted to get a couple of pictures of Avery on it. She wasn't even one year old yet, so they put the baby swing back on it for her. It was wonderful, remembering all the fun times the kids had playing on the play set. 

Chris, Whitney, Avery and Me.
The next morning was just any other Monday. Chris took Whitney to school and Avery and I just hung out doing the morning routine. Around 10AM Avery and I were listening to New Kids on The Block and having a little dance party. Avery loved to dance with me, but soon she was asleep. I put her down and normally that would be my time to take a shower, make the bed and clean up the kitchen. That day though, Chris's cousin Heather's husband Jim (did you follow that? *giggle*) sent me a smack talk for a game on Facebook. So instead of getting into the shower I said, "oh it's on!! it's on like Donkey Kong!" Then played the game. I still don't even know if I beat his score that day. I had gotten up to get something to drink and as I was walking back I caught something out of the corner of my eye. I looked through my balcony door and saw flame coming around the wall that divided my balcony from my neighbors. I kept walking into the living room to grab the phone. I dialed 911 while walking into my room to change out of my pj bottoms and put jeans on while the phone was ringing. I then grabbed the quilt from Avery's bedding and picked her up. The 911 dispatcher answered the phone and I told her that there was a fire and gave her my address. She said a what? I repeated a fire. As I was walking down the stairs she asked me if everyone was out of the building. I told her I didn't know and she asked me how I didn't know and I said because I live in an apartment. While I was saying this to her I started walking back upstairs to pull the fire alarm. That after 8 years of living there forgot that it wasn't by the front door, but at the top of the stairs. I pulled the alarm and it didn't go off. As I went back downstairs I hung up on her and called my husband. As I was going through the garage door I could hear the fire trucks coming. I took Avery away from the building and waited for everyone else to come out. My neighbors from unit 1 came out of their garage and moved their car out. I gave them Avery and jumped in my car and moved it out. I parked it on the grass so it wouldn't be in the way of the fire trucks, that had already gotten there. I went back and got Avery and we just waited. Avery had on a onesie and a pink t-shirt. I had a white shirt on, thank you God, I had a bra on, and jeans. Neither of us had socks or shoes on. At one point a firefighter came up to us and asked me to unlock the front door. I got as far as the inside door to the garage and couldn't go any further. I told them that I couldn't go in and that I gave them permission to do it for me. Chris got there soon after that.

Once it was safe to go back in Chris went. He was walked through the apartment with one of the firefighters and was told what happened during the fire. Also what was safe and not safe to save. Anything plastic, not safe. Baby food that boiled while still in it's jars, not safe. Clothes, safe but we couldn't just put it in a regular washer and dryer. We had to have it professionally cleaned. Sealed wood furniture safe but that also would have to be professionally cleaned. Chris was then told that one of the cats had died in the fire, it was Tigger. Chris got him as a kitten in 1996. We were told that one cat ran out of the front door when they opened it and while they were still fighting the fire they had brought me Princess, Whitney's cat. We didn't know where Cleo was but for a few days after the fire I had thought that she was the cat that had ran out of the front door. It wasn't until we went back in to save somethings that Chris and another neighbor found her under my bed. She had also died in the fire. Ms. Cleo was my kitty.

So what was saved?
Princess the cat and not much after that. We got a few pieces of furniture in each room, clothes and everything downstairs in the front closet and garage.

AND the most important myself.

Chris and I were in a good place with our relationship but we had started making compromises with ourselves. We told ourselves that we wouldn't get new furniture until we bought a house but shortly before Avery was born we bought a new living room set. Then less than a month before the fire we got a new bed for ourselves. I knew the place we were at was to small for us but it was going to take a lot to get me out of there. Well maybe only a fire...

The place we are now is another apartment but we are paying less rent so in about a year we will be able to get a house. I was forced to deal with a lot of problems with living here also. The people across the hall and above us smoke and that's what started the fire. So I was faced with my fear of thinking another fire was going to happen. About a year ago my doctor told me that I have PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. I had heard of it before, so I told him that I wasn't in the military that I couldn't have that. He told me that what I had just told him was PTSD and that I needed to talk to someone about my flash backs and fears of another fire happening. Chris and my relationship at this point had been in a rough spot. We had been fighting a lot and I had thoughts of killing myself. We started going to church and with talking to someone, I have really gotten my life on a better path. I do take happy pills and I think that I will be on them for a while.

I look at this fire happening as a blessing now. I have a better life, we go to church, Chris and I talk more, I can handle a lot more and I have great friends. 

From my front door looking up into the apartment. To the right is a closet and out of the picture is the door to the garage.

I couldn't get myself to go in right away, so I took pictures of what I couldn't see from the front door.
The fire alarm that I pulled, that didn't go off.

The view from the top of the stairs. To the left and behind out of the picture is the kitchen and table. You can just see the desk chair. Living room and to the right at the top of the picture you can see light coming in from the balcony door.  

View from the other side of the living room. Behind me out of the picture, is the bathroom, to the left Whitney's room and to the right Chris, Avery and my room. All out of the picture. In the picture on the left is the desk chair again. The love seat, balcony door, another closet, Avery's toybox, the fixture and the stairs.
A better picture of the area where the fire came in. The white frame on the left side of the picture is what my balcony door was. The whole door melted and that was what was left. Inside the closet was almost all of my scrap books, tools and suplies. Along with Avery's highchair. In front and to the bottom right corner was her swing that was a toddler chair also.
What the ceiling looked like.

1 comment:

  1. I hate that you had to go through this, but after reading this a little part of me is glad. Because, you say that this is what prompted you to come to our church. If you hadn't come to church and joined that one special growth group, I wouldn't have met you! And I'm so very glad I did!