We had some excitement on our street last night, when a couple of fire trucks with sirens blaring and lights flashing roared into our next-door-neighbour’s driveway. It was about 9:30 at night and we were just getting our older two kids ready for bed, when our whole house lit up with flashing red in every window.

Soon a group of neighbours gathered in the road in front of our house, and Sir Monkeypants went out too to make sure everything was okay. Turns out, everything really IS okay. They had an outlet that started sparking and smoking, so they called the fire department just to have it checked out. They didn’t really expect the Ride of the Valkyries, but I guess the fire department doesn’t mess around.

In any case, there was no actual fire and they’re calling an electrician and all is well.

But given that it was the house right next to ours…it does give one pause. What if, you wonder? What would that mean? What would we do? Not six weeks ago, there was a fairly major fire in a home three streets over from us. Due to seriously fortunate winds – blowing directly from the back of the house – the two houses on either side were completely saved, with only a bit of buckled siding in damage, even though they’re only a couple of feet away from the house that burned down. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

What if we weren’t so lucky?

I’m surprised to realize that there’s little that I would lose that would truly devastate me. If everyone got out alright, that’d be fine. The only objects I would really want to save are family photos. Many of the ones of the kids are in the cloud, so that’s good; a lot of my older ones are not, and maybe I’ll find the motivation to preserve the best ones in some way. They’re the really only irreplaceable thing, I think.

My kids would probably not leave the house without their extra special stuffed animals, and yup – that would be the one thing that would be terrible to lose, I can’t imagine the heartbreak. If we had time to gather a few things, I know they’d try to bring ALL the stuffed animals. You’d see us out on the street in our jammies with six bins of stuffies and a box of photo albums. PRIORITIES, people.

It’s interesting to me how much things, material things, mattered to me when I was young. The very idea of getting rid of a toy or throwing out a piece of artwork was too horrible to consider. The thought of a fire destroying my room, my home, was unbearable – in fact, my best friend in Grade 5 used to say goodnight prayers each night that ended with, “And God protect us from fires,” which resonated so much with me that I started doing that too, even though we weren’t all that religious.

But now, surprisingly, I’d be okay. I’d find a way to replace my kitchen gadgets and my thousands of books and all the Lego. We’d get new clothes and a new couch and a new piano.

As long as I have my peeps with me, we’d be just fine, just fine indeed.

9 thoughts on “Fire!

  1. My mom’s friend from highschool lived and raised her family in Albuquerque, when almost the entire town burnt down many moons ago. Or a large part of it, anyway. They have since moved to Boston. They lost everything, including all their photos. So mom dug through her drawers and found all the photos her friend had sent her with Christmas and birthday cards, and sent them back to her. Tangible reminders of what the children looked like while growing up. A little bit of a physical memory, of sorts.

    Glad to hear there was no sudden evacuations and all the drama surrounding such situations…

  2. This made me LOL: “They didn’t really expect the Ride of the Valkyries, but I guess the fire department doesn’t mess around.”

  3. Moira Reade

    Over the Christmas break I filled a box from and sent them off. I decided to scan ALL photos that contained people that Mike or I knew. At the higher of the two resolutions that the company offers. Not to fiddle around with negatives (SO much extra work) and to plan NOT to put them back in albums when they were returned.

    It made the process so totally painless. It took maybe 1 hour to pull all the photos. The box was pre-paid so I just had to assemble it and tape the mailing label to it and drop it at Canada Post. About a month later I received the box back with all my photos and a USB stick (or was it a DVD?) will all my images on it.

    I’d be happy to share the photos with you if you’d like to get a feel for the quality of their work. To me, it’s insurance against fire or flood and it’s worth it. And, I still have the originals if I want to go through them and single out any of them for TLC.

    It surprised me that all the photos of people that either of us knew actually fit into a single box. I thought I might have enough to fill a box on my own.

    Just a thought.

    Oh, and take pictures of those favorite stuffed animals! Just in case.

      1. I forgot to mention that they keep them in order. So if you load them into the box in order, you could theoretically put them back in their original albums or boxes or whatever organization you had pretty easily. I just decided not to bother.

      2. Tudor

        Yes – my parents did this a couple of years ago, and now I’m making a Blurb book (very slowly – between the other Blurb books I’m making) of all those old pictures. So we can actually, you know, SEE them sometimes.

        BTW, there are some recipes I would also miss and, actually, I miss them when I’m at the cottage or elsewhere, so I’m making a Blurb cookbook which will be neat and tidy and not have clipped-in recipes falling out of it, and also which I can give to the kids when they move out so they know how to make all the meals they’ve loved (and hated!) over the years.

  4. Fire scare me. I was surprised to see how often houses seemed to burn in Canada when I first came. Must have something to do with construction materials because fires aren’t that common in France… when it does happen, it’s a tragic event on a large scale (i.e. entire apartment buildings burning down in Paris, often because the electrical system is very old) but it’s rare. And French smoke at home and have fireplaces!!

    I remember a couple of summers (2008? 2009?) where it seemed that there was a fire every single day in Chinatown… I nicknamed it the “flammable district” after that.

    Glad to hear it was a non-event. Best kind of event ever in this case.

  5. The house across the street from us burned to the ground a couple of years ago, and last winter the house beside the house across the back yard from us burned. I have been thinking about house fires A LOT lately. Also, thank living God this didn’t happen back when Angus used to need to be reassured every night that our house would not burn down. I came to the same conclusion as you about things – in fact, it’s given me the impetus to start getting rid of more stuff, because sometimes it all just feels like fire fodder anyway.

  6. Eeek! I’m terrified of fires, to the point where I will not even have candles in the house. The photo albums would make me sad, but I have like 10 years of photos on FB so it wouldn’t be THAT bad. We back up our hard drive every so often, and have our financial stuff in a big binder, so I guess I would grab that too.

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