Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Grace of God - Updated
This was the view from our front porch at 12:25 this morning.
That's our next door neighbor's RV. I know it's hard to get a sense of distance from a picture like this. Our driveway was all that stood between our house and the fire.
I was awakened at about 12:20 this morning by - I don't know what. In my sleep, I may have sensed the orange light in our bedroom window. Or, God may have simply nudged me awake at just the right time. I wondered about the orange glow and quickly recognized the color and shape of flames. Pulling back the blind, I saw the fire leaping from the roof of the RV. I woke The Scoutmaster and ran for the phone.
As I dialed 911, The Scoutmaster stepped out on the porch and we wondered whether anyone was inside the RV. Someone has been living in it for a while. The vehicle was already fully involved and, as I gave information to the dispatcher, there was a small explosion in the RV and we remembered the propane tanks. When I got off the phone, The Scoutmaster sent me to wake the Ducklings and he headed out the front door to warn the neighbors, as we hadn't seen anyone in the street or any sign that they were aware of what was happening. As he ran across the lawn, a volunteer fireman arrived and urged him back into the house, warning of the potential for the propane tanks to explode. About that time, we realized that the carport near the back of the RV was burning as well. The back corner of the carport is about 15 feet from the corner of our house. The wind was blowing hard toward our house.
With no fire trucks in sight, we hustled the Ducklings out the back door and The Scoutmaster started to contemplate ripping down a section of our back fence, in order to escape in the safest direction. Embers were being blown into the back yard. The Ducklings were amazingly calm. Just then, the fire department arrived. They brought two large fire trucks and a rescue truck and in a moment, they were hosing down the RV. Thankfully, we were able to bring the Ducklings back into the house and send them back to bed.
The Scoutmaster and I watched out our bedroom window, maybe 30 feet from the fire, as about 20 firemen worked to extinguish the blaze and to make sure there were no hot spots in the RV or the roof of the carport. All the while, we wondered if the people who lived in the RV were home. As we watched, no ambulance ever came and, once the fire was out and the firemen had sifted through the rubble quite thoroughly, the firemen looked happy. So, we felt sure the people weren't there.
About an hour after it all started, the firemen rolled up their hoses and unplugged their spotlights and turned off their flashing red lights, and drove quietly away. It was strangely dark and quiet. The Ducklings had all gone right back to sleep. The Scoutmaster and I sat up for a while, watching and feeling like we should do something. But there was nothing to do.
Then, just as we lay down to go back to sleep, we heard a car drive up. The Scoutmaster looked out. It was the little blue car, driven by the occupants of the RV. I grabbed my coat and headed outside, thinking to offer them some explanation and maybe some comfort, but by the time I got out to the street, they were already inside the neighbors' house.
It was all over, except for the clean up.
By the grace of God, I woke just in time to get help before the fire spread to our home. By the grace of God, the Ducklings were not frightened by our midnight disturbance. By the grace of God, we can't find one bit of damage from all the flying embers (it was raining all evening and everything was very wet.)
We are thankful!
This is the vantage point from which we watched the firemen work. Amazing.
God is good!
I spoke with the neighbor today. There was no one living in the RV. The neighbor just used it for an office of sorts. The firemen suspect a space heater caused the blaze. Damage to the carport was more extensive that it looked from here.
I still feel a little drained by the late-night adrenaline.