Today is damp, cold, rainy...chilling to the bone. It was a good day to bake and make dinners for the freezer. We decided to light a fire in the fireplace to take the chill out of the house.
I was working the the kitchen and my husband watching TV in the family room. Suddenly we felt the house shake. It started out slow and then went to a full rumble. The fire in the fireplace burst in to a glowing ball. And then BOOM!
I ran to get my phone and couldn't dial 911! I was shaking so bad. I just couldn't get the small buttons. Didn't matter that it's saved on there. I didn't remember. So I got the landline. Wish I could say I did better, but I fumbled with that as well (You so don't want me with you in a crisis!). I finally got though and gave the dispatcher all the info. As this was happening the fire was starting to slow down. He still insisted we all leave the house.
We left and waited for the firemen. For living in an area with an all volunteer force, they were very fast! The chief came and saw that it was contained so I thought really they'd bring in a fire extinguisher and that would be it.
Well to my surprise two ambulances and five huge fire rigs came! I can't even tell you how many firemen and women! We had five fire companies respond!
They initially believed we had a large bird nest in the chimney becasue of the boom. But after putting the rest of the fire out and checking it they didn't find any remnants of a nest. It may have been there and burned out but we definitely had creosote in there. My husband had cleaned the fireplace and readied it for the winter several weeks ago. But lesson learned, this is a job for a professional!!!
(The sent me in to turn off my oven as I doing my was baking and they didn't want I oven fire too. So I snapped this picture)
While there were two firemen on the roof and about a half a dozen in the family room, more went though my entire (and very messy!) home checking for heat in the walls. They told us that the last three chimney fires they were called to completely destroyed the homes becasue the owners (like us) thought after it started to burn down that the danger was over. But it gets between the walls, so each and every room needs checked. Fortunately ours was contained to the fireplace and chimney. (Yes sir! We have terrific angels watching over us!) We will have our chimney inspected and cleaned on Monday. I'm not sure when I'll be comfortable enough to build another fire!
A few of the firemen apologized to me for messing the floor with their boots! And another apologized for spilling some chemicals on my rug! (Can you believe it??? Hey guys! Absolutely no problem!)
I truly can't say enough about these men and women who dropped what they were doing on a Saturday afternoon to help a family that they didn't even know. These folks are THE BEST! I was a bit embarrassed by the whole scene because after it started burning down, it didn't seem like a big deal. But these guys took the time to explain how that's not the case.
We may have some chimney damage. There is soot all over the family room. The house smells, my hair and clothes smell. But I'm not complaining! It could have been so unbelievably worse!