It hadn't burnt down or anything but the smoke damage had been devastating. Nearly all of their possessions had been ruined. To me the couple still seemed in a state of shock and despondency. The comfortable life they had worked for had been cruelly yanked away because of an undiagnosed electrical fault.
At seventy five the fellow had still been working. He was a specialist in fine wrought ironwork and he had a big workshop close to his house. His order book was as full as it had ever been but the trauma of the fire, the disruption to his business and the reality of his age meant that he could not see himself picking up the reins again.
They had both lived in Louth all their lives and though they knew that they had been lucky to get out of the house alive, something had clearly died in each of them. The photographs, the keepsakes, the pictures, the attached memories - it was all now gone. What was left was an ongoing battle with their insurance company to achieve justice and ultimately a new home if their old home could not be brought back to life.
The man had woken in the middle of the night to visit the lavatory. He had pressed the switch on his bedside lamp but nothing happened. Then he pressed the wall switch but the main light didn't come on either. Then he opened the bedroom door and - whoosh! He was hit by a wall of hot air and black, acrid smoke.
It was a moment that changed his life. I must admit that the reality of suffering a domestic house fire was not something I had ever seriously considered before. Now I am wondering - could it happen to us?
In totally unrelated news, I would just like to say that our unborn grandbabes get closer to birth with each passing day as they grow in the wombs that nourish and protect them. Thanks to modern science, we now know the gender of one of the grandbabes. Ian and Sarah's child will be a boy! It's a little strange to know that in advance but of course, we are delighted even though the little boy's road to birth remains long.
Losing everything (or nearly everything) in a house fire would be hard at any age but to be at that stage of life and having to start again would be devastating. All those memories. I do hope they get the necessary help from a psychological perspective as well as a practical one.ReplyDelete
I suspect the only help they will get is from supportive friends and family but I agree that some professional counselling could be of great assistance.Delete
Losing my house in a fire is one of my nightmares and something I have thought a lot about. I even have a loose mental list of items I would try and save if time permitted though of course as long as my family escaped, I would gladly give everything else up for ashes.ReplyDelete
Ultimately, life is about being alive - not about what we collect along the way. But telling survivors that might not go down too well.Delete
Life and death. All part of the amazing continuum.ReplyDelete
It's the journey we all make.Delete
Tragedies like this are life changing and leave the scars. I hope they can get their lives back together.ReplyDelete
Maybe they will never get the memories of that night out of their systems.Delete
How tragic for the elderly couple. A house fire was one of my biggest fears as a child, along with a storm that would blow our house away (think Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz).ReplyDelete
Here in Germany, smoke detectors are mandatory in all flats and houses. My Mum's often goes off when she cooks (and no, she does NOT burn the food, but her kitchen/dining/living area is all open plan).
I often wonder how people who lose everything can go on, no matter the cause - a war, flood, earthquake or house fire.
If that couple had had working smoke detectors they might have been able to smother the fire before it advanced.Delete
I suggest getting your wiring and fuses checked asap, just in case. Fire is one of the worst ways to lose everything, the other being flood in my opinion. Thankfully I have never suffered either. Stories like ths make me want to pack everything I cherish into a very large suitcase and stash it right beside the front door so I can grab it and run.ReplyDelete
I wonder what you would put in there? Don't make it too heavy or the flames will get you!Delete
A house fire during the night is something that would be very frightening.ReplyDelete
We would struggle to get out of our house from the bedroom windows. I try not to think about it.
Just in case - maybe you should invest in a rope ladder. I am not kidding.Delete
Everyone's worst nightmare. My heart goes out to those poor people, it's the irreplaceable personal items you lose that causes the most heartache.ReplyDelete
I passed their large modern house - just a little further up the road. Now they are squeezed together into a hotel room. That must be stifling for them.Delete
What a sad story. You can really feel for some people.ReplyDelete
Better news, you now know what colour to use when knitting Neil Junior's booties and bonnets.
I must confess that I have never knitted anything in my life.Delete
The thought of an electrical fire is terrifying. Our house has never been rewired, and the disruption would be immense, but maybe we should do it.ReplyDelete
Since hearing their tale I have had exactly the same thought. It would be incredibly disruptive.Delete
It IS scary to think of such a possibility. I wonder if the act of trying to turn on the lamp prompted the short, or was the fire already burning -- in which case, it's a good thing he woke up.ReplyDelete
By the sound of it, the electrical fire had already started.Delete
What a nightmare--to have a fire like that. I wish the couple all the best in overcoming this tragedy.ReplyDelete
On the other hand, what delightful news from Ian and Sarah! A healthy, growing baby and a grandson for you and Shirley. The Pudding clan is growing and growing!
We plan to populate Mars when that nice Mr Musk builds Pudding Town up there.Delete
I never understand why all houses don't have emergency exits like public buildings have to.ReplyDelete
Fire officers agree that we should all have escape plans.Delete
That poor couple. About eight years ago the house behind us burned to the ground. Thankfully, everyone got out safely. All immediate neighbours were told to evacuate because of the fear of a gas explosion. I remember driving around with my two boys in the back seat, the dog squeezed between them, my husband at the wheel, and my cat on my lap. We grabbed nothing of material value as we scrambled out of the house except my husband's wallet which came in handy at the local Tim Hortens. The thought that dominated my mind at the time was that I had everything I needed should our house blow to smithereens. I still find myself trying to think what I might grab if a situation like that occurred again...passports, photos, my purse!, my wooden squirrel that holds sentimental value? I'm still stumped. Most material things are fairly easily replaced.ReplyDelete
I hope the older couple wins their battle with the insurance company and lives out their remaining years in a safe, comfy home.
You better start working on your backyard sandbox, Grandpa.
We have smoke alarms here. I change the batteries when the time changes - that's how I remember to do that. A house fire would be terrifying. I don't know if I would want to move back into the home if I were that couple.ReplyDelete
Congrats on the baby boy news! Maybe they will name him Neil after his grandpa!