A fire truck! En route to MY house!
Yes, dear readers...we had a fire. Fortunately, it was contained to the chimney and due to a very calm headed DH, we escaped with just a lot of smoke and no significant damage.
On Thursday night, the David and I were snuggled on the sofa, I was reading the Thanksgiving issue of Martha Stewart (wishing MY Thanksgivings were as elegant) and the David was watching Glen Beck on CNN from behind his eyelids. We had a toasty, merrily burning fire in the fireplace insert. The Wonder dog was at my feet and Ms. Nasty Cat had assumed her position on the sleeping David's lap. Ah-h-h-hh...domestic bliss and harmony. UNTIL....
There was a whoosing sound. A large rumble that increased in volume that sounded like it was coming from behind the wall....I poked at the David and told him that I thought we had a chimney fire. He jerked awake and said...Nah....the cargo planes are doing night maneuvers at the airport (earlier they were rumbling over the house).....and he shut his eyes again. Me, ever suspicious and now getting somewhat nervous, poked him again and said, I THINK we have a chimney fire.....and the David, opening one eye said, Really? I think it's just the furnace coming on (cause it rumbles when it wakes up).
And I watch him scrunch down a little lower in the corner of the sofa.
The third time, I poked him again and said GO CHECK. Ms. Nasty Cat was pretty annoyed when he pushed her off his lap and got up to get a flashlight to go out side and PROVE to me that we didn't have a roaring plume of fire spewing out of the chimney like an after burner on a jet engine.
Which, of course...we did.
And then things got pretty exciting.
Call 9-1-1!!! Get the hose, turn on the water, get the wonderdog and Ms. Nasty Cat out of the house. Where's the car keys, shoes, jacket, purse....oh no! If the house burns there goes the photos, family memorabilia, my stash, my framed samplers, our CD collection...where's the damn cat! Where's the DAMN cat!!!
Meanwhile, the house is filling up with smoke.
I shove the wonderdog out the front door. I can't find my shoes, I can't find my car keys, can't find the damn cat...my brain is telling me to get out, the fire in the fire box is boiling and rolling as the oxygen is sucked up the chimney fueling the fire. The sound is like a freight train. I am waiting for the chimney to explode, the walls to ignite, the sound is louder...
Outside, the David is on a 6 foot ladder trying valiantly to put out the fire with the garden hose. Me, once outside, I am transfixed, watching this 5 foot column of flame shoot out of the chimney. The DH is yelling at me to turn the on the water...the hose is kinked. I trip and fall cause I step in the one hole in the entire yard because it's pitch black outside. I am in my socks. This isn't working...he runs to the barn to get a bigger ladder. I stand at the foot of the chimney watching the column of flame, helpless, but mesmerized by this surreal event. I feel disconnected and think to myself...this isn't happening. I am not standing outside in my socks, watching fire shoot out of my chimney.
I hear sirens....
Thank God for the Castle Creek volunteer fire squad. They came with a hook and ladder, an emergency rescue truck, a water tanker, the sherriff, an emergency crew and eleventy dozen firemen.
In 5 minutes the fire was out. They tossed fire retardant down the chimney.
The crew spent 3 hours here making sure that the fire was out. They pulled the insert from the fireplace, brought in hugh fans to clear out the smoke, made sure that none of us were hurt. Calmed me down. Made sure that the roof wasn't damaged and there wasn't anything smoldering in the attic. Took the temperature of the chimney. Calmed me down some more. Filled out paperwork. Calmed me down some more.
No real harm done. We were fortunate. Fortunate that this didn't happen at 3AM when we are sleeping like the dead. Fortunate that both of us were home. Fortunate that the DH was calm. Fortunate that the night was calm and there was no wind....fortunate, fortunate, fortunate.
The ironic thing about this entire experience is that we have a chimney sweep scheduled for next Wednesday, the earliest appointment we could get.
So, we are fine...the house is fine. Ms. Nasty Cat didn't turn into Ms. Crispy Critter. All that's left to do is clean the fine layer of soot and fire retardant out of the firebox and off the furniture, get the fire inspector to come out and check the chimney for cracks in the flue.
And thank God for His protection and for the Castle Creek volunteer fire and emergency crew.