I'm a bit paranoid about house fires. I don't want to say it's one of my biggest fears, because that just seems like tempting fate. So I'll just say I'm afraid. Very afraid.
image from here
image from here
This could all go back to about second grade when the school bus dropped me off and when I got home, Mom was nowhere. After a few minutes I discovered she was on the roof, (which at the time was wood shingles) watering it with a hose to protect it from dropping ash from a nearby wildfire.
Later I remember being able to see smoke from a few miles away from my house but knowing that right where there was smoke, was also my house. It turned out to be a house up the street from my parents' that caught on fire and burned to the ground because one of the owners was drying running shoes in the microwave... or that's the story that went around.
On a very very cold night in the winter of 2000 the duplex I was living in in Provo caught on fire. The girls next door knocked on our door to inform us that they had a fire in their fireplace and their chimney caught fire. Running through my mind was... what do I take, what do I take? I can't remember if I took anything. I had the flu and spent the next couple hours standing across the street from our home watching the firefighters spray water onto the chimney and roof. We were lucky, it only burnt part of the roof and the chimney on the other side. They had some smoke damage, but not a lot. Mainly all I suffered was a horrible flu and a really icy street once all the firehose run off froze. Hopefully a house fire never gets that close to me again.
When we were living with my parents in 2003, we could see the bright orange flames from a wildfire burning near my parents as we were leaving our church's trunk-or-treat party. Jed and I spent the next day not at church, but on the roof watering the still wood shingles. I packed important documents, photo albums, etc. in the back of our car. Like I said, I'm a bit paranoid. Some homes in a gated community near my parents burned down. So maybe I'm rightfull paranoid?
I called my dad the other night because when I logged on to check the news one of the stories was about a wildfire in California being started by cow manure spontaneously combusting. I thought the story was about a different, huge wildfire from a couple of weeks ago that was thought to be arson, but when I clicked on the article, I saw an all too familiar area on the map. The same area that has burnt near my parents' house three times in the past five years. My dad was calm and not worried. Later, when I saw that my parents' neighborhood was under voluntary evacuation I called home again. Dad was still calm. He said they weren't evacuating, the fire was no where near them. He was right, it didn't get closer than several miles away. AND, they had gotten a new roof in late 2004. No more wood shingles.
So I'm paranoid about fires and the last two places we've lived (in Kansas and now in Virginia), we live basically on the same street, or one street perpendicular, from the closest fire station. This is awesome for Buddy (and Baby X) because everytime a fire truck drives past they run to the window to see it and Baby X makes fire truck noises for the next ten minutes. This is not so awesome for me because I am of course imagining that it is my building on fire.
I have all of our important documents, copies of our family pictures (a cd of our family pictures at a secondary location), and other family memorabilia boxed up in a rubbermaid container that has since grown to two and then three boxes. The idea was that I could grab the box quickly. But two boxes quickly? Or three? Plus kids. I keep envisioning trying to get three kids and all of our stuff out of the house because of a fire and my brain freaks out. So I think I'll add one of these fire safe boxes to my Christmas list. Or two. Or three.