Waking Up To A Nightmare
It was one week ago today. I was woken up at 2:30am by the sound of our fire alarm going off. But it didn’t go off like “hey wake up your house is on fire” all it did was chirp once like the battery was dying...it never went off again. I didn’t wake up because I thought something was wrong, I woke up because I didn’t want the alarm to wake up the kids. I ran to the entry way where the alarm went off to see if it would chirp again and as I stood there I smelled what a bonfire smells like after it goes out and I heard a sound I couldn’t for the life of me place. It sounded like it was raining really hard so I opened the front door and there was no rain. I stood there again and it sounded like crackling...above my head...in the attic. No flames, no smoke. Just that smell and that sound.
In the Navy we are trained to fight fires so I could tell something was “off” but couldn’t confirm anything. If something was happening in the attic I needed to check. Jordan’s office has an air tight door that walks into the attic so I decided I would check there. I opened the door and was hit with a wall of smoke. I immediately closed the door.
My house was in fact, on fire.
I woke up all of the kids, yelling for them to get up and get out of the house. Dominic (my 16 year old) led so well in that moment. He got all of the kids and dogs and got everyone in the car. I called 9-1-1 and even the phone call was surreal.
“Yes, I think maybe my house is on fire?” You could tell even this guy was confused because I wasn’t sure of anything or if this call was a prank. I really wish it had been. There was still no flames and no smoke inside the house. Getting in the car and backing out of the house I sat there with my car facing the house and there were zero signs that something was wrong.
We sat there and waited...for 10 minutes (we live pretty far away from anything).
As I sat there waiting I called Jordan...because he was in Houston on a work trip. It took 5 tries before he picked up and in a panicked voice he said “what’s wrong!” Through tears I cried “babe, our house is on fire...”
The first police car arrived and even he seemed confused because he went inside the house to make sure I wasn’t making this up and still...no smoke, no flames. Then I heard the sirens crying in the distance and I was horrified. “What if everyone gets woken up and nothing is wrong?” So many trucks and cars showed up they almost surrounded the block.
The fire fighters even went into the house without masks on because it appeared as though nothing serious was happening. Again, I was trained for this so i watched to see how Sergio is things were based on what equipment was being used. Then they opened the fire hydrant and unrolled the hoses....my fear was confirmed. My house was on fire.
90 minutes. That’s how long I stood outside on the phone with Jordan watching the fire fighters put out the fire. But still I never saw a flame. The fire chief approached me and said “ma’am would you like to go inside?”
I walked in and my house was no longer a warm inviting place I worked so hard to create, it was now dark, wet and destroyed. I looked up and the ceiling now had a massive hole in it. The fire Marshall shined a light into it and I could see all of the beams in the attic were completely destroyed. Now that sound made sense, it was the sound of fire burning these beams.
The Fire Marshall said, “This was started by those wires right there. This was burning for hours because all of the insulation was designed to stop fire. This fire was so hot it melted the insulation and burned all of these beams.” This fire burned not only in the attic but also in the walls.
Once we were able to go in and grab items to take with us a fire fighter was assigned to each child and myself. They escorted us to our rooms and stool there patiently as we picked the items we would need at least for the next 24 hours. Do you know how awkward it is to stand in your bathroom trying to choose items necessary for you to function as a human for the next 24 hours? You know what I grabbed? My Makeup, a pair of pants, a shirt and a bag of apples. Yes, a literal bag of apples from the kitchen. I don’t know why but it seemed absolutely necessary to have those as I left the house.
As I sat on the phone with Jordan he was able to find us a hotel we could stay in, book the earliest flight out of Houston and call the insurance adjuster so they could be there first thing in the morning. After we all collected what we needed (all of the kids had concerts Friday night and Saturday morning) we piled in the car and drove to the hotel. As we would learn in the next 24 hours, we won’t sleep in our home for at least another 6 months.
Our insurance has taken such good care of us, we are in a rental home until our home is done. But I give a ton of credit to Jordan for not accepting the bare minimum. I can’t, and do not have enough words for how our church community, Jordan’s company, friends and family has surrounded us through all of this. We have not needed anything. They have showed up to move furniture, send meals, bring me Christmas decorations, washed our laundry, kept our kids over night, took kids to the movies and be a place of comfort when words escaped us. Community is a non negotiable because when you walk through tragedy, you don’t want to be alone.
It was only, literally only God, who woke me up that night. It was ONLY His protection the fire never broke through the ceiling and wall because if it had, where it was burning, would have created a wall of flames between me and the kids who sleep on the other side of the house. This could have been so so so much worse.
We are ok, the kids are ok, our house is not ok, but what the enemy meant for harm we know we have a faithful Father who will turn it around for our good and His glory. Sometimes I feel sad, not because I believe God forgot about us or is punishing us but because sometimes life is hard and not fair.
It’s only been 7 days so I’m sure there is so so so much more road to travel down but I know we don’t have to walk down it alone. Thank you for praying for us, thank you for supporting us, thank you for loving us through this.