House Fire

playing house © Jim Korpi

Saturday morning started with an early phone call. When the phone rings late in the evening or early in the morning there is always a thought that the call may not be a good one.

Our friend’s house had just burned to the ground. Their giant log cabin-style castle, complete with stone tower, had caught fire the night before and was still burning. The fire department said that when a log cabin burns it takes a little more to get it going, but once the fire starts it burns extremely hot.

Annah and I drove to their place as soon as we got the call. We could see smoke from the highway on the hillside where their house would be. It was worse than we thought.

Everyone was safe, but the house, a mansion-like estate on a small hill at the top of their winding drive, was a charred smoking half-wall.

Tanya had seen the fire start on the second floor and came running downstairs while Andy was placing a log in the fireplace. She grabbed the two children with no time to grab their shoes and ran them to their grandfather’s house next door. Andy, who has served two tours in Iraq, emptied three fire extinguishers on the growing fire on the second floor. He then ran outside to grab the hose only to realize it was frozen. He then ran back into the house and was overcome with the smoke. At this point he realized that there was absolutely nothing he could do to save his house and there wasn’t an item he could save.

Every piece of clothing, every photograph, his grandfather’s gun collection…EVERYTHING… gone.

What do you do for friends who have lost everything except the clothes they were wearing when they left their burning house? Their insurance is good and will rebuild the house, buy new appliances and replace things of value.

Our instincts are to help, but why? How?

The morning after the fire I saw a shocked Andy at the farmer’s market. He ¬†recalled a talk with his good friend Bill, who he and his wife spent the night with while their house lie in a smoldering pile a few miles away. “Look at it this way, Andy,” Bill explained. “You just cleansed yourself of all your belongings, and you didn’t have to become a Buddhist to do it.”

Posted January 11th, 2010 in Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , .

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