Friday, October 15Th was Toby's 2ND birthday. We took the kids out to dinner and then watched a movie with them. Once they went to bed, Randy ran to the store in get the last minute things we needed for his party the next afternoon. We had just moved at the end of July, and we were SO excited to have a place where we could finally have everyone over, and not have to have the party at my parent's house. Ran and I stayed up until 1:30am wrapping, and getting grab bags ready. We went to bed content and excited.
At 3:38am Randy was screaming at me to wake up. I was confused. Why the hell are you screaming at me? I'm sleeping. He screamed again, " THERE'S A FIRE!" I didn't smell anything. Our smoke alarms weren't going off. I didn't even have a shirt on, so this must be a mistake. I stumbled into the living room, and it was as bright as the middle of the day. Our very large wood deck was engulfed in flames as far as I could see. Just then I heard the alarms in the apartment below us. They were faint, but they were going off. I ran back into our room, threw on a shirt, grabbed Toby, who had snuck into our bed sometime in the last 2 hours, picked up my cell phone off the night stand and ran. Randy had already got the girls from their loft bedroom, and we were out in 30 seconds. I remember hearing a faint popping, and not knowing what it was. It was the glass backdoor. It broke as we were shutting the door to leave.
We were only able to grab the kids. We didn't stop for keys, purses, wallets. And the saddest of all, our beloved pets. That still reduces me to tears.
When we got to the parking lot, no one else was there. I turned my back to comfort the kids, and Randy was gone. He went back in and was banging on doors. He opened te door to the apt. where the fire started and got a face full of black smoke. Evey one in the building made it out.
Even when I heard the door break, I thought " Okay, we're gonna have some damage, and probably have to say with my parents for awhile." It wasn't unit I watched the deck fall off, and saw flames coming out of Toby's 2ND story window, that it finally clicked. We are watching as we lose our home. I turned around and vomited. I begged the fire fighters to get my pets, but there was nothing they could do. It was a grease fire, and it went fast. We moved the kids to where they couldn't see the building, and waited for my parents to come get us. We didn't grab car keys and we were parked in the 1st spot next to the burning building. I honestly think I went into shock.
My Mom took us back around 11am. There was nothing left but our bedroom. BUT our van only had a little damage, and we had a key made. Which was kind of an ordeal because we didn't have ID to prove it was ours. But we eventually got it. There was nothing to salvage. And we didn't have renters insurance. We were waiting to renew our car insurance
In all this, it has affirmed that people are good. Neighbors from other buildings brought us blankets, and the kids snacks while we waited for our parents. My Aunt, Uncle, and cousins gave the kids clothes, toys, and food for the next week, along with enough paper goods to last us forever. My parents went to the store at 6am and got us all clothes. My brother gave us a place to live. Friends gave us clothes, and threw a Spaghetti Dinner, Because they did that, we could pay our rent. Randy didn't have any vacation left, and had to take off the next 2 weeks. The complex gave us another apt. like the one we had. Really, I can't even list all the amazing people that have helped us. We may have lost everything we own, but we're the luckiest people alive. The fire department told us that we would not have made it out if we had been in there when the back doors had broke. We are alive because of Randy. We escaped with 2 seconds.
The fire started when the neighbor below us came home on his lunch break, and fell asleep with fries in a deep fat fryer. I know how hard it is to work overnights. This was just a horrible accident.
The kids are doing well now. On the 15Th of this month there was a chimney fire below us, and once again, we were rushing out in the night. Everything was OK, and we were able to go back in. We didn't argue when they wanted to sleep in our room that night.
So, that's the story. We're the luckiest people alive. When I stress now ( especially with Christmas right around the corner) I try to remember that. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE HOW YOUR LIFE CAN CHANGE IN 2 SECONDS!!!!!