Safe, and Thankful.

We have a phantom doorbell.

That is to say, it rings when nobody’s there. It’s probably an electrical problem. It rings if something bangs into the wall. It rings if there’s rain. It rings if you open and close the front door.  It was acting up again last night when I went to bed.

Which is why I didn’t pay attention when I heard it ringing at 2:50 this morning. But then, I heard the knocking that followed. “That’s weird,” I thought. I walked out of my bedroom, still a bit bleary but alert from the adrenaline.  I noticed there was a large emergency vehicle with lights flashing parked out front at my neighbor’s.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” I thought, and briefly considered waking Dave to deal with it, but decided to go ahead and open the door. A burly fireman waited outside, holding a clipboard.

“Sorry to wake you, ma’am; I know it’s the middle of the night. Are you aware you had a fire?”

Um… no, I was not aware. Wow. What happened?

“Well, a passerby noticed that your yard brush and leaves were burning and that the fire had gotten out of control and was getting pretty close to both your house and the house next door. We’ve been out here controlling it for a while, and we’re just about done, but  were y’all  burning leaves last night?”


It turns out Dave had thrown a match down and thought little of it, and then it started to catch. He stomped it out. Later when he went to close the garage door, he noticed it was smoldering, so he doused it with 15 gallons of water, thought it was done, and went to bed. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last of it.

While we were peacefully sleeping in our beds, with our precious children, it came this close to our back deck stairs.

It came this close to our beloved van, Oholibus, whose gas tank was recently refilled.

It encroached upon the backyard, burning a few railroad ties and getting close to the shed where we house all our firewood that Dave spent all last summer chopping and aging.

How quickly our lives could have changed beyond recognition.

But instead, we are fine, and all our stuff is intact, and we all woke up and went to Mass as a family this morning.

And we are so thankful.

Perhaps our friendly neighborhood firemen will be seeing us later this week, but this time, I hope, we’ll be on their turf.

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10 Responses to Safe, and Thankful.

  1. Katherine Lauer says:

    Wow. That is incredible. Your whole lives could have been changed! Thanks go to at least eight Guardian Angels!

  2. Aunt Carol says:

    My mother had something similar, but less scary, happen when I was away at college. My younger sister had been painting her room and had set the lamp on the bookcase headboard in the middle of the room to get better light. When she was done, she left for the evening, but forgot to turn off the lamp. Later that evening, my mother smelled something suspicious, checked the painted room and, sure enough, the lamp had fallen onto the bed and smoke was coming up. She unplugged the lamp, doused the mattress and opened some windows to get rid of the stink. After a few minutes, though, she decided to toss the mattress out in the yard, to clear the air faster. You guessed it, the next morning all that was left in the yard was the wire frame of the mattress; the rest had burned up during the night!

  3. Erin says:

    Very thankful that you all are okay! I’m sure Mass was one of complete thanksgiving. 🙂

  4. Rebeccah says:

    I died a million deaths reading that. God protected you guys, and those firemen were so polite! Amazing. And oh boy, your neighbors would’ve been SOooo angry at you if you burned their house down.

    Aunt Carol, that is also an amazing story!! Whoa.

  5. Thanks be to God, so glad you are all safe!! What a lesson on the persistence of fire…

  6. shelly says:

    Ummm…. gulp!!…. unbelievable!! Esp. considering your dh took ‘care’ of it with water! That is so scary. But Praise God all is well!!!

  7. Julie says:

    Um, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about this. I nearly cried just now. Love you guys!!! Thank God someone saw it in time…

  8. Tom says:

    Yikes! Very glad you all are ok!

    Reminds me of the time my family was staying at the house during the holidays and offered to watch the kids for us. I was showing my sister how to operate our gas-fireplace and accidentally forgot to close the valve before Christy and I left on our date.

    Halfway to the movie theater, I got a call from my sister saying they had smelled gas and remembered the open valve. They were able to vent the house and all was well. What really unnerved me, however, was that there had been candles burning on the other side of the room the whole time!

    You could probably imagine how white I became when I heard that.

  9. Pingback: Trip to the Fire Station | Socks on the Line

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