{January 16, 2009}   The Fire Downstairs

Let me start by saying we’re ok, our cats are ok, our stuff is mostly ok. Here’s what happened, I’ll try to get through it all. I have to warn you, it gets kind of detailed and gory, so brace yourself if you need to.

This past Sunday morning at about 8am, half asleep we heard smoke alarms going off in the apartment right below us and a lot of banging around. We were getting annoyed because like in most apartments, when you cook the smoke alarms go off, or you have noisy neighbors.

Then our smoke alarms went off.

We got out of bed and put pants on. Damion went downstairs and there was smoke coming out of our fireplace. The cats were huddled together under my coffee table. We put on shoes, I grabbed my purse, we managed to grab and hold the cats and walked calmly out of the apartment. We were on auto pilot. We walked downstairs and as soon as we got to our normal breezeway exit, there were flames on the front side of the building.

Everything was in slow motion.

There was a fire fighter yelling at us to walk down to the other side. We walked around and saw the beginning of the devastation. We continued on to our car,which just so happened was parked away from our building. There was no parking the night before. We threw the cats in the car and I lost it.

The flames were overtaking the whole front side of the apartments and I just knew that was it for our apartment. Then they started bringing people out. The first human we saw rescued was a tiny baby whose eyes were wide open and the firefighter checked to see if it was still breathing. The second was a man they had to bring out in a blanket that was already bloody and who they had to resuscitate. The third was a woman, who they had to fireman-carry out of the third story, also bloody.

These images will never leave me. I still see them clearly.

We had a friend living in the same complex that also works with us. I called her to ask if we could get in from the cold. Emergency vehicles surrounded the complex, as two cities responded to this 2-alarm fire. She called out from work, despite the flack she received from work, helped us, and helped random people who were waiting for the outcome of the disaster.

About 3 hours later everything had calmed down, but there were still emergency vehicles in the complex starting their investigation. We managed to sneak around to see the backside of the building. No fire damage. Both of our apartment doors were wide open. All of our stuff was in tact.

We called our parents and mine hopped up and were in Garland within 4/4.5 hours. In the meantime, about 3.5 hours later they let us back in our apartment to get “essentials.” Damion had just done laundry the day before while I was at work, and luckily, we had a lot of clothes still in the baskets. We got toiletries and the cat carriers, and that’s what we have with us right now. The smell in the apartment was so overpowering. We already know our bed is not going to be usable because of smoke damage, and our couch too.

The apartment managers are letting us out of our lease. We have to wait to hear back from them to see when we can go get the rest of our stuff. We haven’t had much luck since we’ve been in Dallas and the Dallas area, and I can’t think of a better sign that someone doesn’t want us to live there. So right now we’re staying with my parents and we’re going to relocate to Brazoria county, most likely Pearland, until I get accepted to grad school. Damion is already working on transferring to a new Home Depot, and I managed to register for classes at Houston Community College in Missouri City. We’ll be here until I find a job or transfer and we can afford a rent and bills.

So far, the man they pulled out from the upstairs unit, who happened to be the dad of the baby and significant other to the woman they pulled out, didn’t make it. The last we heard,the mom and baby were in critical condition. I can’t think of a worse tragedy. And we witnessed it.

I couldn’t feel luckier, and so glad to be alive.

Thank you Amanda, I don’t know what we would have done without you. The kitties thank you too.

Thank you Damion, you were my rock, I can’t imagine what would have happened or what I would have done had you not been there.

Thank you mom and dad, just for being there when I needed you.

Thank you God.


Oz says:

I’m so very glad you and everyone else is okay.

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