Monday, November 21, 2011

Part Two (of the fire story)

(This is a continuation from the last post) 

The firemen hard at work, we wondered how long we should wait. We had our car keys, and e knew our car was safe. Maybe we could just go over to Kimball's parents house and wait there. One of the police officers called us all over (there were maybe 40-50 of us out there now) and told us that they had reached a bishop in the area with keys to a nearby church (I love Utah). We were all supposed to go and wait there in the warmth, and they'd inform us when it was safe to come back. We decided to go with everyone, since it would be a little adventure, and in case they divulged anything, we would want to know what was going on, and when/if it was safe to go home.

We all walked a few blocks and met the bleary-eyed bishop with his family. We all crowded into the gym (some luckies got the foyer couches) and sat on the floor and metal folding chairs. The police man came in a after a while and told us that the Red Cross would be there shortly to help with anything we needed, and that they might start arranging hotel rooms for those whose places weren't livable. Kimball and I got pretty bored after a while, and decided that we'd just get our neighbor's number, figuring that their damage would be comparable to ours, and call them later that day from the comfort of Kimball's parents' place.

We walked back to our apartment, by now it was about 5:30, and saw that the firemen had successfully put out the fire, and were starting to pack up. We went and talked to one of them. We asked how bad the damage was, and he told us it would due fine, and that we should be able to go in. We went in, thinking it was over, and that we could resume our sleep, but we wouldn't be so lucky. I could see big black fireman foot prints in our entry, and realized they must have come looking for anyone still inside. They had even opened our balcony door and turned on our ceiling fan to start airing the apartment out. Despite their efforts, it smelled horrible. We decided to gather some clothes and essentials and head to the in-laws at least for the day. I went to grab my phone charger and saw that it looked as if the outlet had vomited ashes. This was a little disturbing. We puzzled over it for a while and decided to work about it later. We continued packing up, and as we got to the bathroom, we realized this whole thing was much worse than we had thought.

Pictures are needed here.

the outlet

I don't even know how this happened. It's like there was
smoke in our walls, and it just came out of every crack
it could.
Our bathroom floor... so gross. There had been a rug
where that foot is.
This is what the inside of every closed drawer and
closet looks like. I don't understand how the smoke
got in all the way to the back of closed drawers and
managed to oat everything inside.

We started to see that this was more than just a bad smell. We moved into the kitchen and found it to be almost just as bad as the bathroom. 

We couldn't tell that the counters were dirty until we
moved a cereal box...

And then we noticed the floor. I'm so sad about my
pretty rug! I got it years ago at Anthropologie on a
major sale, and I don't know that it's cleanable. I
kind of like the new deeper hues though...
I was sad to realize that the 2 dozen pumpkin cookies I had made the day before were covered, but not very well with saran wrap. Maybe some were still okay, but we weren't brave enough to risk it. We were tired and didn't want to overwhelm ourselves too much, so we grabbed some clothes and threw our bedding in the wash and left. This was funny: we couldn't find any clean surfaces and we didn't know what to do with our pillows and duvet while their covers were being cleaned, so we stuffed it all in the clean dryer. We went to my in-laws and explained it all, they kindly said we could stay indefinitely, and then we slept from about 8 am till noon. We woke up, and decided to face the place once again. We brought huge tupperware bins and garbage bags with us. We basically threw out anything that wasn't worth cleaning or that had been contaminated: magazines, little notepads, our toothbrushes, dental floss, Q-tips, cotton balls, cookies, and tons of food that wasn't in an air-tight container (baking soda, cereal, etc.). I wish we could have thrown it all away sort of. The thought of scrubbing that whole place down, cleaning every book, article of clothing, appliance, dish, chair, the mattress (who knows how it's doing), towel, nail polish bottle, blow dryer, razor blade, and all my fabric and craft supplies... everything is so dirty! And this isn't just dirt. It's sticky, greasy, invasive, smudgy, stinky soot.  We filled our clean tupperwares with clothes and stuff that we thought we'd need for the next week or so, took the pillows and duvet from the dryer to dry the sheets, and put them in clean garbage bags. We dried our sheets, turned off the furnace so the smokey residue would stop blowing in, and we left. 

We would find out later that day what happened, and why that truck was burning in the first place. More to come. 

*(Sorry I'm not writing more at a time! I'm tired, and we're busy starting Thanksgiving super early by playing games and having treats and watching Boy Meets World, because we just survived a fire!). 

I'll post again tomorrow. 


  1. Oh Bethy, so sad about all that sticky mess to clean up! How can we help? Aren't you so glad that it was just a truck? What a relief. And now you have this awesome adventure story to document for posterity! And a pretty great excuse to start thanksgiving early. :)

  2. i can't believe it got in your drawers and closets! yuck. the after-fire smell is the worst! good luck with the clean up.

  3. What a pain—I'm glad it wasn't worse though. Once upon a time my nephews burned my sister's house to the ground. True story.

    Good luck getting all the smoke smell out of your house!