Fire – part 2…

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So just to recap, in case anyone stumbles upon this and thinks it’s just happened. Our house almost burnt down in 2004 and this is the 2nd installment of the story…

It’s a strange feeling when your house has almost burnt down. It’s an even stranger feeling to discover how close you probably came to dying in your sleep ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Stood on the street at 4:00 AM with the Emergency Services now gone all we really wanted to do was to go back in the house, shut the door & go back to bed. That clearly wasn’t possible as our house was a blackened, smoke reeking, flooded mess. We’d also been told that the Fire Support Service was on their way. We’d never heard of them before, but I can now declare that the Fire Support Service has the most overly grand title of any ‘organisation’ I’ve ever come across before (well certainly the one in Derby does!!!). We’d been told how helpful & supportive they’d be and how well equipped their vehicle was, to keep us all comfortable for the rest of the night/morning. The thing that came spluttering down our street was nothing short of a clapped out old ice-cream van. When the 2 old guys stumbled out of it clutching a thermos flask & antique polaroid camera, we could’ve easily been in a scene from Dad’s Army ๐Ÿ˜ฏ One of the old guys marched into our house to photograph the scene for insurance purposes (with Polaroid film that turned out to be almost 10 years out of date!!!). Needless to say the pictures never came out, so I took my own ๐Ÿ™„ We also decided to give the van & thermos a miss and decided instead for a proper cuppa at the neighbours!!!

At 6:oo AM the local press arrived, closely followed by the local TV crew, with our Insurance people and a few friends & family not too far behind. It was all a little surreal and a little hard to exactly explain. The other things that I’ve never really got close to explaining are the smell our house had over the next few months and the look of horror on people’s faces whenever they smelt it. Unfortunately I can still remember it very well…

The next few weeks turned into a bit of a blur. We took a very impromptu week away in Portugal, while the house was de-flooded. We then had the most amazing cleaning company encamped in our house itemising everything that was dead while they set about cleaning the rest and boy could they clean!!! Our Insurance company gave us vouchers to replace all our electrical appliances, Monopoly money to spend at Sainsburys to replace all the food/drink/herbs/spices in our kitchen, money to pay for all our laundrette trips and money to pay for every meal we’d eaten out!!! To most people, the thought of being able to dine out all day, every day, would be like a dream come true. We were truly sick of doing this after about 3 days and just wanted our kitchen back. And this is about the point where my stress levels began to rise. Our Insurance company had been truly magnificent, but they’d almost done as much as they could do. The major building repairs & kitchen refit had been passed on to a building company and more specifically, to a complete ARSE called Declan…

I could eaasily write pages & pages about this complete imbecile of a human being, but it might prove to be too painful to do so!!! I’ll condense it to this…

We spent the next 3 months (yes 3 months) without a kitchen. Declan plumbed our brand new washing-machine in incorrectly (and very nearly knackered it!!!), replaced water-pipes appallingly badly, arranged for our entire pre-build kitchen to be delivered the day before the men came to fit it and before we’d even had the old one removed ๐Ÿ˜ฏ and then arranged for some plumbers to replace our boiler (in the kitchen) on the very same day that our kitchen was being fitted out ๐Ÿ˜ฏ There was so much more, but I’m sure you get the general picture. The only person I’ve ever punched in anger is a kid at junior school, but this complete & utter twat of a man came tantalisingly close ๐Ÿ˜ก

By the end of October tensions had reached breaking point and the poor kitchen fitters (who were brilliant) were desperate to get us our new kitchen asap. They too were clearly unimpressed by Declan and vowed to stay until our kitchen was complete. So desperate to get the work done, one of the fitters chopped the end of his finger off with a saw ๐Ÿ˜ฏ He returned from hospital a few hours later to finish the job!!!

And that pretty much explains how we almost died, got very stressed & ended up with a rather nice kitchen… And I’ve not even mentioned all the legal battles we had with Hoover to decide who’s fault the fire was!!! To this day they refuse to accept responsibility!!!