I had a big list of things to do to get ready to leave for a week’s vacation at the beach. But I know, when I try to buckle down and do them, that is when the mini-ions get their neediest. So I was spending the day following their lead, and fitting in what I could in between. It seemed to be working really well.
I had my last load of laundry in the dryer. Mini-ion #2 was upstairs napping. I had been watching a show on demand while folding laundry, but I had to pause it for a while and it restarted, so I loaded it up on my computer and Mini-ion #1 was sitting on my lap with me while we watched the season opener of Kitchen Nightmares.
I smelled something that reminded me of the a grill. Hmmm….I took the granola out of the oven, so I’m not cooking anything…..no….it couldn’t be from my laundry room?
I dropped Mini-ion #1 on my computer chair with orders to stay there and darted into my kitchen to see smoke billowing in from the laundry room. I opened the door to the laundry room and it was full of dark smoke. Luckily our laundry room has three doors, one to the kitchen, one to an outdoor play area and one to the garage. I shut the door to the kitchen and opened the door to the play area to hopefully dissipate the smoke outside.
The smoke didn’t dissipate. It kept filling the room. It was so dark and heavy I had to crouch down to be able to breathe. I got something to protect my hand and cautiously opened the door to the dryer and saw flames gently munching on my clothing.
Mini-ion #1 started trying to open the kitchen door, so I went back out to keep him away. I grabbed my phone to call my husband to see how I could put this out, but wasn’t consciously able to dial. I went outside to go to the laundry room through the garage when my volunteer fireman neighbor came running over with a fire extinguisher, already having figured out my dryer was on fire and I have a GAS DRYER! and letting me know his wife had called the fire department. I opened the door to the garage, and he went in to the laundry room to see if his fire extinguisher would help. It wouldn’t. He asked me where the fuse box was and I just looked at him blankly.
I ran inside through the front of the house, remembering where the fuse box was and cleared a path through the toys to the basement so he could have access to it. I began to realize this was a big deal. I ran upstairs, with Mini-ion #1 following close behind me, to get Mini-ion #2 out of her bed and outside and the upstairs was full of smoke. Oh no.
Luckily Mini-ion #2 was awake in her crib. I grabbed her and a pair of pants for her, and the three of us ran out of the house, chased down our dog and watched as the fire fighters ran into our house and put out the fire.
We’re ok. The house is mostly ok.
The fire was not caused by lint, but the dryer engine seized and caught on fire.
That evening, I called the insurance company, Traveller’s Insurance, and they had someone at our house the next morning. Our insurance agent encouraged us to call a mitigation company to clean up the fire damage (paid by insurance), and stayed for when the mitigation company’s estimator came, so they could establish the work needed and approve their work. The mitigation company finished cleaning up all the damage from the fire and the hoses that night. While we finished packing to spend a week away.
We came home to a mostly smoke free house.
We were so lucky for so many reasons
- I had had plans to be off at a playdate, but the person we were going to go play with had a stomach virus, so we were home when the fire started.
- My quick thinking neighbors, who realized it was a very big deal and called 911. Then entertained my mini-ions and gave me updates through the entire process.
- Our close proximity to a very good firehouse with talented fire fighters who were able to keep the fire contained to just one room of our house.
- What seems like a fantastic insurance company who has been walking me through this process of, what do you do when your house was on fire?
- An architect for a husband, who worked in construction during college, who has a very strong knowledge of how houses work and is already working on designs for getting our laundry room back together.
- All of the offers of housing and concern we received from our friends and family.
The fear of what could have been, still lingers with the faint smell of smoke, every time the laundry room door is opened.