I normally wake up for work around 4 or 4:30pm. This afternoon around 3, Sam (who was napping with me) and I heard sirens, and it sounded like they were just passing our street. A couple minutes later we both heard what sounded like pounding on a wall. We looked at the baby monitor to see if Ella was stirring or hitting the wall, and she was sound asleep. I got up from the bed and looked out the bedroom window and saw three police cars, and a couple fire trucks outside our neighbor’s house across the street.
I didn’t see any smoke, so I was confused. I hurried up and threw my pants on and walked to the front door. It was then that I saw the firefighters break down the front door and a huge cloud of black smoke billowed out the entrance. At this point, panic struck and I ran to one of the firefighters. I know that my neighbor’s mother lives there and she speaks no English. I also know that they have two daughters. I had no idea if they were home or not, but I made sure the fire department knew that. It wasn’t long before they were on the upper level breaking windows to let the smoke out.
Shortly afterward, my neighbor was running up the sidewalk. She was obviously frantic. I asked her where the girls were and she said they were in school. Her dog, however, was still in the house. I didn’t know they had a dog, so we made sure to tell the fire department. Our neighbor’s mom arrived on the scene shortly after that, she had been out walking. The puppy was still in its cage when they brought it out and brought it oxygen. They tried very hard to help it, but sadly, he didn’t make it.
Around 4, the school bus dropped off their daughters. Their grandma took them for a walk and eventually they came back home. Their mom brought them over and asked if they could use the bathroom. We welcomed them immediately. We offered them a snack and turned on My Little Pony on Netflix. This allowed their mom to help her husband call insurance companies, fill out paperwork, and take care of their dog.
They were a joy to have over and they were your typical elementary school kids. “What’s my middle name? If you guess wrong, you have to quack like a duck!” and stuff like that. They were very chatty and Ella thought it was cool to have “friends” over. They were all playing with her kitchen set and watching TV.
After I had showered and was dressed for work, I came out the living room. The girls were still there and as I sat down, one of them looked at me in all seriousness and asked, “Do you like junk food?” Chuckling, and anticipating where this might be going, I answered, “Why do you ask?” She looked me up and down and said, “Well, you are …. very ….. BIG!” I laughed, Sam laughed, and we all laughed. I guess it’s time to get back on the diet!! At least she said “big” and not “fat!” Out of the mouths of babes….
That was the high point of the afternoon. I know that I will be praying for the family in the days ahead. I hope that you will, too. I can’t even imagine what it has to be like to go through something like that. There are so many things that are irreplaceable. I am glad that no one else was home when this happened. It could have had a very different outcome….
Thank you to the folks of the Clio Fire Department for getting there as soon as they did! Another few minutes and it would have been a total loss.