What to do when you’ve had a fire
We had a fire. A total-loss of our in-house worldly possessions. This happened in May 2018. Until this point, I never knew what to do when you’ve had a fire, but now I’d consider myself an expert on the subject.
The morning of the fire was not unlike any other morning. It was mid-May and we got the kids off to school. My wife went her way to teach a yoga class, and I went to a client’s place to do some work.
I wasn’t at a desk for more than a few minutes when I got a call to change my life forever. My house was on fire, and my heart and mind went into overdrive!
The first thing to do
The call came in. My house is on fire. I quickly gathered up my things and told my client I had to leave immediately. How could I know if my wife was at the house? On my way to my client’s I had brought the kids to school that morning. My wife was finishing up her morning routine when I left, and for all I knew she could have gone back to bed once we all left. I called my amazing wife. To my utter joy, she picked up and I knew she was safe. Our conversation was quick, and to the point. My brain was in a whirl, yet I had clarity. She would meet me at our home.
At this point I was in the car, heading towards to house. I called my insurance agent. The receptionist asked a few questions of me and said my agent would be out to the house soon.
I arrived at my home to see it still on fire. Three fire departments were at the scene putting the flames out. I took this photo:
What comes next?
The fire had been put out. My wife has arrived. We are experiencing this together now. Now my insurance agent was at the scene, and we talked. My agent gave me the contact info for the fire insurance claims department and I called them right away. “Our house has had a fire” I told them. It seems like the claims department has heard this countless times before. They are courteous as they read off the script, and go through fire claims procedure.
My wife and I decided that with the age of social media and the immediate coverage by InkFreeNews.com in our area, that the children would quickly learn of the events befalling our home. By this time my mother-in-law had arrived, and together she and my wife would pick up the kids from school. Now is a time to be together. In our small town, my children were home within 30 minutes. The hardest part of the morning was hold my children and trying to convince them that everything would be okay. We are all safe, and that’s the most important thing.
The fire is out, and the fire department are gone. We just finished giving our statements to the police. This is a standard procedure for a fire. The detective questioned our morning, trying to determine if the fire was caused by any of us in the house. It feels cruel when you’re the victim, but looking back now, this is a step that must be taken.
My wife’s story and my own were given, and it was obvious by our answers that we were victims, and not to blame.
Talk with the Fire chief
Whether or not all sizes of town deal with it the same way, I do not know, but the lead fire department’s chief talked with me next. It wasn’t apparent how the fire began. He had gone through our master bedroom, where the fire seemed to have originated. There was orange tape on a few electrical outlets. “This is our best guess” he told us, as we discussed how the fire had begun. Some wiring, originally installed in the 1950’s was likely to blame.
The chief gave me his card, and told me to call if I needed anything from him. He had the American Red Cross here now, and I’d talk with them next.
The American Red Cross
Call the Red Cross. They have volunteers who come out. My family went through a crisis, and they eased it greatly. We were thrust into homelessness, without any clothes or food all in a morning. The kind people at the Red Cross gave us a prepaid card with a little money on it; enough for a change of clothes and a hotel for the night. They gave us “goody bags” with toiletries and a stuffed animal for my young kids.
Without the Red Cross, that first night after our house fire would have been much more difficult.
Please consider donating to the Red Cross.
To be continued…
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