Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Biggest Bon Fire Ever

It was a typical day yesterday, April 6, 2009. There was a nice breeze blowing outside and it was a brisk 54 degrees. Cailin was napping and Malia just finished snacking. She slept really long for her nap since she was sick. Her ears are still giving her a fit. On a side note, I can’t wait for 2 more weeks when she gets the tubes in her ears!! Around 430 in the afternoon, I hear a light knock on the door. It was neighbor bob. I asked him what was up. He is a bit out of breath and says he has been hollering for over an hour and a half for help. It is 54 degrees… all of my windows are closed. I didn’t hear a thing. I asked if everything was okay and what did he need help with.

He just pointed for a second and says “your field is on fire” What?!?!? I look to my left and see a good part of my field black and singed, as well as a HUGE fire burning around it. My initial thought was HOLY SH____... I put Malia on the floor in the front room and did a quick scan to make sure nothing she shouldn’t have was in reach. Since she isn’t crawling still, I was fine. Grab a few toys and toss to her and head out the door to the garage. The phone rings. It is Amy. I would love to talk to her, but there is a big fire. I tell her I will call her later. I moved the car, threw the water tank onto the 4-wheeler, and found the battery was dead. Crap. I can’t kick start it. I have tried, but it just doesn’t work for me regardless of how easy Chris says it is. I threw the water tank onto the lawn mower and started moving it towards the well pump to fill the tank. Bob brought his truck over and we tossed the tank into the back of the truck. After the tank is filled, bob takes off heading towards the back of the property, the direction the fire is spreading. I didn’t realize right away the sprayer needed to be attached to a battery to operate. Bob gets the idea we can dip 2 bath towels into the tank and fight the fire with wet towels. I am watching the fire… it got about 5-10 feet closer in about 2 minutes. I hollered for Bob that he needed to move the truck because the flames were getting closer. I hollered again, but nothing.

I moved away so I could get out of the smoke a little bit and started to cover my mouth with my shirt so I wasn’t breathing in as much of that stuff. I’m glad I keep my phone in my pocket. I had assumed that Bob had already called for the fire department. BIG mistake. I asked and he said no, he was trying to take care of it himself. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? A FIVE ACRE FIRE Vs. one man with a WET TOWEL beating it down… gee, who do you think will win this one? I called 911, and then stayed back away from the fire. I told bob I had to go to the road to direct the trucks. I called Chris knowing he was on the soccer field. I left the following message. “Hi sweetie, it’s me. Bob was an idiot and had a fire on a windy day and our field is on fire. I called the fire department and they are on their way”. Since the fire wasn’t near my house, I wasn’t too concerned yet. A bit pissed, but not really concerned. I ran in the house and Cailin had woke up. She was playing with and talking to Malia. I was glad. They were both happy. I told Cailin that fire trucks were coming and I had to go show them where the fire was. She said okay and was going to play with Malia. I am sooo thankful my girls are easy going and get along!!! I start walking up to the road to watch for the trucks to arrive. While I was doing that, I called Amy back and talked to her about bob’s stupidity. I had to talk to someone to calm my nerves down. These were BIG flames… in MY YARD! I heard the sirens, and then they left. I was thinking oh crap; they got lost finding my house! Ha. Later I found the guy turned the sirens off to hear the radio. They got to the house and I pointed them in the direction. I told them if they had to drive over the sand box, I didn’t care. They didn’t have to. We had three brush trucks which were basically 4wd trucks equipped with a tank of water and a pump. Then there was an engine, which was there just to refill the brush trucks with water. It took them about 2 hours to put everything out. I started taking pictures once things calmed down and they had most of it under control. When it was time for them to leave, they told me to keep an eye on our old tree that was hit by lightening. It was still smoldering really well. They said if I see more smoke than what was there now, to call back. Do I call a local number or call 911 again. They said they would respond pretty quickly if I just called 911 again. About an hour and a half later, I had to call them back. There was about 3 times as much smoke, and I could see some flames about ten feet away from the tree. Here we go again… 3 more brush trucks, the engine didn’t come this time. They kept hosing down the tree, and then decided it would be best to cut the tree down. This is about the time Chris called me back from the soccer fields. His first question: “is that old tree still standing”. Not for long. It took about an hour for them to cut the tree down. While they were here, they found another hot spot in the woods and really soaked that down as well.
The fire fighters are familiar with Bob. He has had 3 houses burn down. He apparently has done this kind of thing before with fires getting out of control in the yard and others fields. He just inserted a wood burning stove in at his new house. Something tells me the firefighters will be out to visit again soon! I just can’t believe that Bob was trying to fight this on his own. Anyone have any marshmallows?

Here are some pictures of the excitement.

Cailin watches the fire through her "telescope" to make sure no one gets hurt.

This is the "BIG ENGINE" they sent to refill the brush trucks

This is the big dead tree. It is no longer standing.

Some shots of the active fire. There are flames on the left side. BUT this is after they have done MUCH WORK to get the flames down.