Friday, February 13, 2009

Wednesday 11 February

What a day! Someone was watching over me, whether it was God, a guardian angel or fate, someone or something out there is watching over our family. So many things were supposed to happen that the outcome, if any of them were happening as scheduled, would have meant the difference between being homeless or being in need of temporary shelter.

I'll try to explain as succinctly as possible what happened.

Firstly one of the things that had got altered, only last week, was that my 10am hair apointment for Wednesday 11th had to get changed to 10am Thursday 12th.

Secondly, I had planned to go swimming after dropping the boys off at school. I was dressed in my togs when I dropped the boys off & drove to the swimming pool. I have a multi membership that covers both the gym facilities & the pools. To use these facilities I have a membership card that I keep in my gym bag. I got to the pool & started hunting in my gym bag to find my card. I couldn't find it. I then thought I'll go home & pick it up & then go swimming. I came home & found the card but then sat down to clear some emails. After about 30 minutes of that I decided that swimming wasn't a goer & I'll just have a shower & start doing the housework. If I had gone swimming I would have been out of the house at 10am Wednesday 11th.

I had my shower & started to do the laundry. I walked to my bedroom with ironing board to do some ironing when I smelt smoke. I took a deep breath just to check & yes it certainly smelt like smoke. I then ran to the kitchen to make sure that I hadn't left anything on that could be burning, I hadn't but there was no smell of smoke there either & Mo was sitting contentedly on the blue couch in the next room. I went outside to clear my mind & went back down to my room again only to smell smoke again. This time I went into my office & turned off my computers & printers thinking that maybe the dust was playing havoc with the fan on the laptop. Still worried I went & checked that the boys hadn't turned heaters on & left things on them that could be smoldering. I then went to my bedroom & opened the window in hopes that the smell would leave the room. I walked back down to the living areas & again I couldn't smell smoke down there. I then picked up the telephone & walked back to my bedroom & could smell the smoke again. I started to panic about now & called Scott at work. Scott suggested that either I call the electrician or to poke my head up the manhole into the ceiling & see if there was a problem up there. I then hung up & mulled that through my head & decided that I was not happy with those options & I would have to come up with my own solution.

I decided that the safest option was to call the fire brigade but I was conscious of the fact that Mo was still in the house (I thought if she smelt fire she would leave the house) & that the smoke alarms weren't going off but somehow I could still smell smoke. I got the phone book out & started to find out what the phone number of my local fire station was when I decided that it might just be easier to call 111 & get charged however much it would be if it was a false alarm. I went back down to my bedroom with the phone to make the call because I still couldn't believe that what my nose & now my eyes were telling me, yet the cat is still in the house & the smoke alarms are still not going off. I got through to the operator & she told me to close the doors & leave the house. I asked if I should close the window & she said if I had time I should. So I closed my bedroom window & went out of my bedroom & went to get my handbag. I went outside & closed the door behind me only to see the cat still sitting in the house. I decided that obviously I was totally mistaken on the fire & I'll just pay however much for my peice of mind. That being the case I went back into the house to get Mo out. She was still sitting on the couch & wouldn't have a bar of me getting her so she ran under the dining room table. I could hear the sirens so thought "stuff you, if this is real you'll have to fend for yourself" & got out of the house & closed the door behind me.

The fire engine arrived & 4 men looking very surly came out & the next thing I know another engine arrives. My first thought was "oh dear this is going to cost me an arm & a leg to pay if this is a false alarm." My worries about how much it was going to cost were then allayed by a fireman coming out of my house, saying "it's a live one" & simultaneously I saw smoke billowing out the roof of the house. That's when I lost it, I broke down in tears & called Scott to tell him the house was on fire but not to worry too much as the fire brigade was here.
From then on those surly men turned into caring individuals while also fighting the fire in my house. Several times I had one of them come up to me & ask if I was feeling alright. Eventually they put me in the fire engine so I could at least sit.

They put the fire out & my house was saved. Not only that but we didn't lose a thing! Nothing but a few peices of timber & gib board were lost. The firemen all came up to me & said I was a very lucky person because ceiling fires are the worst to have. I did ask if those smoke alarms ever went off, & they did but not until there was a lot of smoke in the house to register. Since the fire was in the ceiling space the smoke alarms can't detect the smoke until it gets quite strong in the house & that was when the firemen were there.

Of course I didn't take my camera out of the house with me so this is a photo Scott took after we were allowed back into the house to get the camera. The engine is actually parked astride our driveway & the house is being run to the fire hydrant across the road from our house.

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