Fire – part 1…

posted in: Family | 0

About this time of the year, 5 years ago, I was a very angry & very stressed individual (which is most unlike me). Although I did have a very good reason to be. And it was only after a conversation with a few friends at the weekend, that I realised that quite a few people I know have never actually heard this particular story. Also, people will often comment on how nice our kitchen is and have absolutely no idea what we went through to get it…

So if you’re sitting comfortably; on Wednesday 28th July 2004 at about 3 in morning, this happened…

We had one of those washing-machine/tumble-dryer combination things, which was in the process of drying a few clothes when I decided to go to bed. There was still about ยฝ hour to run on the cycle, but it was getting late and I needed sleep. Besides, the machine would stop when it’d finished, so I closed the kitchen door (which possibly saved our lives ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ) and went to bed.

At about 2:30 AM I woke up, for no apparent reason. Obviously since the arrival of Sawyer, waking up at 2, 3, 4, & 5 AM is a very regular occurrence (bless him ๐Ÿ˜ก ). Back in 2004, waking up at 2:30 AM was a very rare experience for me, but something had woken me (I’ve no idea what???) and something just didn’t seem right. Bleary eyed, me & dog went downstairs to investigate. Walking towards the kitchen I soon heard the familiar hum of the tumble-dryer, which was somehow still going, over 2 hours after it should have finished!!! What followed when I opened the kitchen door was hugely unexpected…

The first thing that instantly hit me after opening the door was the smoke/steam. The kitchen was full (and I really do mean full) of it and it filled my lungs in seconds. The second thing that struck me as being a little odd, was my wet feet. I looked down and noticed that the whole downstairs was flooded. Undeterred I tried to get into the kitchen to turn the tumble-dryer off, which I soon realised would be an impossible task. I simply couldn’t breath and my eyes were now stinging badly. I closed the kitchen door and dashed back upstairs to get a little more prepared, which is when Tracy woke up…

Why are you putting your shoes on‘ she asked.

The tumble-dryer hasn’t turned off and the house is flooded…

Just leave it ’til the morning… Why are you putting that around your face?‘ Tracy asked. Still clearly not fully aware of what was happening.

I can’t breath, there’s smoke everywhere.‘ And with t-shirt around my face, I was off downstairs once more.

Despite the homemade face mask, I still couldn’t get anywhere near the tumble-dryer; the smoke was too thick. Which gave me the bright idea to open the back door, to let the smoke escape, which to a large extent it did do. Unfortunately it also filled the kitchen with huge amounts of oxygen from outside, which any good Boy Scout will tell you, is just what you need to start a fire ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Our entire kitchen (with me in it) was a very scary fireball within seconds of me opening the backdoor and it’s an image that will stay with me for a very long time. Gut reaction here, you would think, would be to run like hell & call 999. I, insanely, thought I could put it out!!! So with the room engulfed in flames I noticed a now wet blanket on our kitchen floor and somehow managed to heave it up & over the tumble-dryer… I then ran like hell.

And this is where it all started to get a bit scary… The house was now full of smoke, which basically meant that I couldn’t get back upstairs and more worryingly that Tracy, Jake & the dog couldn’t get out of the house!!! Thankfully, Tracy had now realised just how serious the situation was downstairs and had used my mobile (which I’d luckily left upstairs) to call the Fire Brigade. They were quick and soon had ladders up the side of the house to our bedroom window. Our street was now filling with anxious neighbours, who all had the pleasure of seeing Tracy leaving our bedroom window at 3 in the morning with a rather short dressing-gown on and stumbling down a ladder onto the street ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Jake was a little more sure-footed but Baggins (who must have been terrified) pissed all over the Fireman as he carried him down the ladder!!!

At about 4:00 AM the fire was out and most of the neighbours had returned to their beds, which seems as good a place as any to end this part of the story. I’ll do the next bit tomorrow. It’s strange to think that our traumas had only really just begun at this point!!!

On Wed 28th July 2004 our house caught fire…Months of chaos followed…