Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Fireman's Son

I was raised in a small town and my kids are being raised in that same small town.

One of the benefits to being raised in a small town is that you attend school with the same group of kids from kindergarten until you graduate high school and move out into the great big world.

This could be good or bad, depending on your social standing or if you were the kid who picked his nose constantly in the 2nd grade and still had that reputation as a high school senior.

I don't remember what year it happened, but there was a fire at the home of one of my classmates. Nobody was hurt, physically, and the home was rebuilt and life resumed it's lazy pace in our small town. But of course, the fire story never really was extinguished because the boy's father was . . . a fireman.

There is nothing worse than a fireman's house catching on fire - a fire started by a coffee pot that was left on, by the fireman. Imagine the humiliation when the fire engine, aid units and tankers showed up to put out the blazing fire at the home of one of their own. Imagine the joking that followed at the firestation, the teasing, the razzing.

If you can't imagine this scenario, just watch a few episodes of "Rescue Me," and you'll understand.

My friend was a funny guy, he was often the class clown and always made others smile. Besides being a good student, he was popular and an athlete, so the "fire" jokes didn't scar him for life, but nobody ever forgot about it. Ever.

When I came home last night and the smoke alarms were sounding, how could this happen, I was only gone for 5 minutes? I went right inside the house. An orangish glow was coming from the bathroom and my husband (THE FIREMAN) was upstairs telling the kids, "It's nothing, probably just a match mommy lit," as he was walking downstairs to investigate.

When I looked in the bathroom and saw the backpack on fire, the flames almost to the ceiling, the smoke, I grabbed the flaming towel hanging from the wall and threw it on the flames. I pushed hard on it and batted until there was no more orange, only black - everywhere.

Standing behind me, my husband reached around to grab the scoarching backpack and bring it outside - burning his hand on the melted material in the process.

I took whatever was left and followed.

We looked at each other.

We looked at our kids.

We breathed.

We looked at our bathroom.

We are so lucky.

The damage done by our little fire took a while to clean up. Soot does not want to come off of white walls easily and I suspect a painting project will be in my near future. We ran fans for hours and opened windows and joked about "lighting a candle" to get rid of the smell. We discussed the lesson learned with our kids, who remained remarkably calm through the whole ordeal.

Do not throw backpacks on top of burning candles, was one lesson.

Do not leave candles burning when fireman husband (who was tired from getting a cortizone shot in his lower back that very morning) is alone with children, was another.

Wyatt's backpack was ruined, along with his homework folder, coat and some other things that were inside. Lucky for him, he got the actual homework out before he threw his pack on the candle. But still, he was anxious to get to school and share the story with his teacher and friends.

Should make for interesting bus stop conversation don't you think?

"Hey Wyatt, remember that time you almost caught your family's bathroom on fire?"

"Heh, Heh, yeah - and your Dad is a FIREMAN!"

Fits of laughter follow and Wyatt saying, "Oh, gimmee a break - it was just a little fire and besides, my Mom put it out."

The bathroom


The backpack


30 comments:

kirida said...

How frightening, Carrie! I'm glad you and your family are okay. You're right--you are very lucky.

Not the Mama said...

Wow, Carrie. That is SO scary. You are so lucky. I've had a couple of close calls with fire, and it's terrifying in that moment. I'm so glad you were able to handle it quickly and without much lasting damage.

Tracy said...

OMG!! I am so glad that you all are okay! Remember....I was the fireman's wife that caught the kitchen on fire a few years back.....I know the teasing that comes out of that! :0)

Sunshine said...

My hubby is on the fire department too, so I understand what you mean about a fireman getting crap for his own house being on fire!

Glad everyone was OK!

Smitty76 said...

Oh my gosh! So glad you and your hubby caught it before any worse damage happened!

Kelly said...

Wow! Glad to hear everyone is safe and that you're all able to laugh about it now!! Good luck with the remaining clean-up!

Anonymous said...

Whew! The photo scares me almost more than your phone call last night! I'm really sad about that frame & photo...do we have a replacement?

xxxooomom

ps... Don't forget... that other fireman & his family have had a LOVELY new kitchen ever since. But I think about their fire every time we go by...

Mrs. Chicken said...

Yikes! That was quick thinking and a cool head on your part. Glad you are all OK!

Beth said...

Wow! How scary! Glad no one was hurt and you were able to get it out quickly before there was more damage.

Amy said...

Wow! Your quick thinking saved the day.
I wonder, will your husband tell any of his buddies this story.

OHmommy said...

OH. MY. GOSH!!!!!!!!! Nice quick thinking. Someone is looking out for you guys!

Amy said...

WOW!! That is just insane! How lucky for you guys that it didn't get any bigger, I can't imagine!

Kellan said...

Oh MY Gosh!!! So good you walked in when you did - timing is so often EVERYTHING! I'm so glad it wasn't worse!!!!! It will make for a great story though - oh, it already has!! Take care! Kellan

Lisa said...

Wow. You reacted fast and kept your cool. Very cool. Love how the dog is checking out the scene.

jen said...

oh honey. oh no. i am glad everyone's ok.

Cathy said...

Oh, wow. Glad all of you are OK. How scary.

Left Coast Sister said...

Woah!! Glad everything is fine, although sooty! At least the engines weren't called out!!!

Scout's Honor said...

Wow! That's so scary. House fires are my biggest nightmare. Not sure if we are insured enough. Certainly do not have backups of our pictures pre-digital 2004.

I'm so glad no one was hurt and not much damage was done. Hopefully, the young man will have learned a valueable lesson.

I've also learned about candles since a xmas with my extended family. My kids are careful, but my sister's four year old daughter kept swishing by a coffeetable with her holiday dress and almost caught her hair on fire. All candles thence forward are left on tables or my kitchen sinks where kids are very unlikely to hang out because they might get stuck doing dishes. :)

Mamacita Tina said...

Wow, what a scary moment! But you jumped right in and saved the day. Hooray for you!

your cousin said...

I can't imagine how scary that would be, and I am SO glad you are ok! Please tell me you have another copy, or at least the negative, of that photo of McRae. It is one of my favorites.

Love you all~

Alexandra's World said...

OMG, thank GOD you guys found it on time!!!! Wow, I'm glad you're all ok! Hmmmmm... was that an attempt to get out of homework?? ;)

jason said...
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jason said...
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jason said...
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Carrie said...

I'm glad you guys are all okay and that the damage wasn't worse! How scary!

Molo said...

Wow, i'm just happy everyone is safe. much love
ryan

Paula said...

Damn. Never a dull moment, hey?

Everyone's pulse back to normal?

You are one cool, collected mama.
I'm glad you are all safe. Especially because I'm tagging you for a meme.

You're it!

Ann(ie) said...

Holy Crap!!! I'm so glad everyone is okay. =P I almost set the kitchen on fire once. I intelligently placed a potholder on top of a burner. that was on. Matt still sort of panics when I walk in the kitchen.

painted maypole said...

so glad it wasn't any worse!

Stacey @Real World Mom said...

THAT was SCARY!! Thanks for the reminder!

BTW, my son is a volunteer firefighter, and I'm so proud of him! :-)