The day my house burnt down….

I wasn’t going to post about this today. I was going to move on and say it was no longer a date I was going to remember but I think at only 2 years I can’t yet forget about it. January 30, 2007 I came home from work earlier and although I thought it was odd that my chimney was whipping smoke and there was smoke coming out of the eaves of the attic…somehow my first guess wasn’t that the inside of my house was on fire. I guess I thought maybe my hubby came home for some odd reason and added some wood to the wood stove. I was wrong.I walked up the front steps and opened the front door. Immediately I was thrown to the ground a few feet back. Shocked; I immediately got up and ran back up the stairs and to my horror I could see flames ripping through my home. Crazy as it sounds you are trained in life to run, get to safety. But believe me- until it is you in the situation you can’t promise you will use common sense in these type of situations. I knew that 10 feet away was my digital CD cases of all my family memories. To me the most valuable thing in that house and believe you I was getting it. We had double french doors on the front that required a latch to be pulled to be able to open the other side. I needed that latch pulled b/c the floor in front me was on fire but it didn’t look as bad as the floor to the left. So, I took a deep breath and reached like hell to get to that latch. Sadly the smoke was so thick and heavy I could breath in the doorway long enough to get the latch pulled. All of a sudden the entire floor in front of my engulfed in flames and collapsed fast into the cellar. I knew then the pictures weren’t worth it and called 911.
The adrenaline started wearing off and the shock and reality that my home and everything in it was now on fire. As I stepped away from the house for safety I collapsed to the ground. I called my husband, my mother, and my father. I at this point was hysterical and not making much sense. But I managed to get out the facts:I’m home, the house, fire.
My mother works close to my home and she arrived shortly after the first responding police officer who might I add walked up to the house with a fire extinguisher (WTH?) while flames are pouring out the front door.
I ran to my mom and sobbed like I was a 2 year old. I sobbed over everything that seemed so childish and materialistic. I cried over my 6 months old brand new nursery I had just finished. I cried over my wedding dress that was hanging in the closet that I had just worn 12 weeks previous. I cried over knowing I would never have a picture of my oldest son as a baby ever again. It broke my heart. Not just emotionally but physically. I have never felt heart ache like I felt it in that moment.
Suddenly fire trucks and news crews started arriving at my house. I had to call the school and have the detour the school bus. There was no way I was going to let my then kindergartner see the terror that was happening. Nor any other child if I could help it. I had people everywhere, just sitting, starring, completely awe struck and helpless. Everyone was trying to be helpful in any way possible, well all but the news crews who continued to follow me around and get a story.
Next to show up for family was my father. My super hero. Being as hysterical I was he actually went running into my house with the fire fighters still in there to rescue my baby’s Eddie Bauer highchair. Because I could see it from the side door they had torn off the house. The room hadn’t been touched by the fire. Just the smoke and heat. After dragging out the highchair we knew nothing would be salvageable. Believe it or not that highchair had started melting from the high heat the house had reached. There were suet stains all over from the massive amounts of smoke that were in the house. I walked back to the front of the house. My hubby had arrived and was now speaking with police and fire. Being logical and not getting emotional. He was good for that.
I thought I had to get myself together and walk over to him. Half way there a fire fighter emerged from the house carrying my wedding dress in his hands, I lost all composure. He said although it was ruined he knew I would want it. 10 minutes later they carried a tank out. At first I didn’t realize what it was. Then as they got closer it hit me. This was my oldest son’s pet. It was dead. How do I explain all of this to my oldest child. He wasn’t a baby like my other child. He got it he understood things.
Hours passed my mom left. She wanted to help me with my oldest and picked him up from school and took him to her house. Family kept my baby and now we had to think about what was next. We were a family of 4. Nothing but the clothes on our back. Nothing. I realized I didn’t even have a bottle to feel my child, or clothes to send my child into school the next day. Where were we going to stay???
Then came the fire chief. We could momentarily enter one room of the house if we chose to. We were not allowed to walk around or anything but if we wanted we could peak. The floors were unstable and the walls were down to 2×4’s. Some of the stairs were missing, and some that remained look like this:
While 2 years have passed. We have rebuilt and moved back home. Granted things couldn’t be replaced and the youngest picture I have of my oldest is age 4, but we are together, all 4 of us. I may have lost things that at the time seemed unacceptable. But in the end the 3 things I needed most of all were not in the house. My hubby & my kids.
And I’m sure you’re curious to know how it started?

A wood stove. Surrounded completely by cement and metal as seen above. The fire chief was in awe that it was able to happen seeing how many lengths my hubby took to make sure the area was safe. All it took was a one dry piece of wood in the cellar to spark from the heat. They said when I went down cellar to check it before I left for work, it was probably already started and I didn’t notice. I will never again allow fire in my house. I don’t like it, I don’t like to be around it. I can take a campfire in the middle of a field, but do not make me even sit in a room with a fire place.
If you’re here for the first time today….make sure to read something positive…like my featured friday I posted earlier today.


  1. Sarah says

    Oh my! I am crying just reading your story…that is awful.

    But, it restored my faith in people a bit when you talked about the firefighter bringing you your wedding gown. What a thoughtful thing to do.

  2. Jackie G says

    Wow….I cried the entire time I read this!! I’m so sorry!! But like you said…the things you needed most were not in the house!!
    (((BIG HUGS)))
    I’m sure today was a really rough day for you, but thank you so much for sharing it!!
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend!!

  3. Timeless Paper Arts says

    Thanks for sharing your story..I’m sure it was a little difficult/painful remembering the events of that day. So glad you and your family are safe!!

  4. Boody Babies says

    WOW! The school bus comment hit me. We lived in the country, on a farm surrounded by trees so as you were coming down the road, you couldn’t see the house until you right in front of it. I remember everyday riding the shool bus home (I don’t remember how old I was when this started, but it continued through high school), but my stomach would drop to the floor until we were right in front and I could see that it hadn’t burned to the ground. I don’t know why I was so afraid…in grade school one of the younger kids’ whose house was across the street caught fire and we all watched. It was really sad.
    You are so strong to overcome. I have hard copies and multiple digital copies of my family photos and I still panic something is going to happen to them. As silly as it seems, those things are so precious. BUt, I am soooo very glad you all survived physically unscathed (except your pet, sorry for the loss). Anyway, this was quite ramble. This is something I’m sure you’ll never forget.

  5. My Dear Darling says

    Oh dear, I’m so sorry you had to experience such a horrible event. And your own home! I cannot begin to understand how it feels to lose almost everything, but thankfully your family members were safe. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  6. Susan says

    Wow…what an awful experience for you and your loved ones…I am so sorry for your loss…I am sure this was hard for you to re-live so thank you for sharing your story…I am so thankful your family was safe…sad to hear you lost a pet though…they are family too…glad you have been able to rebuild and start living again:) Have a great weekend

  7. ConnieK says

    I am so so sorry that this happened to you. I am very glad that your family was safe and that the firefighters realized that there were some things in there too precious to leave. Many hugs to you and your family.

  8. AnniKae says

    I can’t even begin to imagine…we all fear it, but in the same breathe…it’s hard to believe it could really happen.
    I’ve never met you, yet your story had me in tears. Hugs to you and your family. And…hopefully writing it down helped you get through a hard day.

  9. Oh Jennifer, that’s horrible! :'( Made me cry for you and all that loss. I am so glad your babies and husband were not in the house!! I can’t even imagine 🙁

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