Yesterday there was quite a large fire at our house. Here’s what happened.
I was at the younger boys center. I don’t keep my phone with me, I usually keep it in my bag and put it in the office. We were in the middle of a painting activity and another staff came over from all the way on the other part of the compound and said that my roommate was on the phone.
Roomie: Beth you need to come home right now there is an emergency!
Me: What happened?!
Roomie: Our house is on fire!
Me: Oh-oh my gosh! I’m leaving now!
I quickly grabbed my stuff, asked the other staff guy who was there to finish up with the boys and said I had to go home because our house was on fire. Our house was on fire! I got an amjat and told him to step on it. Halfway home a friend who was already there called to tell me that the firre brigade was there and that the fire was in the guest room–one that we mainly use for storage and for all of our kitchen amenities (because our kitchen has no storage space). Said that the only damage to our rooms was water everywhere and probably some smoke damage. So I was relieved.
When I got home the entire neighborhood was out on our street. My roommate was waiting for me outside and then we went up. The fire was out, still smoking, and there was water and soot everywhere.
The fire brigade didn’t tell us anything about how it started, but it looks like it was some sort of electrical malfunction. Shortly after the official folks cleared out a bunch of neighbors came up to chat and survey the damage. One girl of about 12 who I had never met before asked me for some coke or juice. In her defense, it is cultural here to serve some sort of sugary beverage to your guests. Buuuuut we weren’t exactly entertaining at that moment. I didn’t even know what to say…um…do you see that blackened room and water and soot and smoke everywhere? Sorry cupcake, I don’t have a beverage for you. PS Even if I did you’d be drinking it out of your hands because all of our glasses are now broken. Haha, oh my.
Before I knew it our landlord and his wife (they live on the floor right above us with their baby) jumped in and started pushing water out and helping us clean. Some friends showed up and we made short work of getting most of the water out before the sun went down. Obviously there will not be any sort of electricity in our building for a few days I’m sure.
I am staying with some folks these next few days. Today though I the roomie and I and probably some kindhearted friends will be sorting through everything and hopefully getting our hose in livable shape for sometime in the near future.
I brought a change of clothes for today with me. They smelled a little smoky in the house, but once I got outside of our well-done apartment the smoky smell was overwhelming. So…I see many loads of laundry in my future. Our framed pictures are melted to the wall. Our walks are black with soot. Two of the locks on our balcony doors are melted shut. We also currently have no working bathroom. And mounds of ash and stuff to sort through.
All things considered it could have been so, so much worse. Didn’t lose anything that was super important to me. So glad my roommate came home when she did. There was no damage at all on the floors above or below us—praise God for that. I’m not sure how insurance works here or if our landlord had any. I have no idea how long the fixing process will take. But I am in good hands and there is no lack of good hearted souls around who are willing to help us.
A few lessons learned: keep my phone on me. Keep my room neater. I tend to treat the floor as another shelf sometimes…and I would have a lot less wet stuff I hadn’t of done that. And always have juice around for thirsty neighbor kids who come to look at your half burnt house. (Just kidding on that one.)
**I tried to upload some pictures but the internet is being whack. Will try again soon.