Three’s the Charm? Uncle? FIRE!!!

The fire trucks are gone.  The windows are open.  The cat is safe. The humans are safe.  The burned mattress no longer smokes in the front yard.

I awoke at 6:00am trying to find that alarm clock that keeps going off on random days that my parents can’t hear because they’re deaf and are sleeping.  I start downstairs and hear it’s actually the smoke alarm and my mother yelling FIRE!  Call 911!!

I ran to my room, grabbed my phone, dial 911, all the while running back upstairs to the fire extinguisher which I couldn’t find because my mother uses it as a hook to hang her plastic bags, talking to 911, running back downstairs trying to grab my mother and drag her out of the house, running upstairs to wake my father, getting him out of the house, talking to 911, still trying to get my mother out of the house while she’s taking a burning pillow across the basement to the bathroom, spreading flames everywhere.  All this time I’ve got my cat in my arms. Which is a miracle because she doesn’t let ANYONE hold her. But she let me this morning.


A neighbor brought blankets and bathrobes, another neighbor tea, another neighbor brought me a cat carrier, I sat on the next door stoop and watched and waited and called my brother.  He’s still not home, 9 hour time difference. Called my High Priestess.  Called M.  Called M because his initial is really C. and I was going down the phone list as I’m taught in AA.  I start to loose it, go shocky, and start cracking up because the paperboy walks up the street past the firepeople, past the hoses, past the smoldering mattress, lays the paper on the front lawn, and walks away.


The fire was caused by a pinched wire to the baseboard heater my dad leaves on 24/7.  The box spring was pinching the cord and with it on all the time it fried the wire insulation and eventually got so hot it started the fire.  My brother was going to be sleeping in that bed this coming Wednesday night.  It was the guest bed.  The thought of his head on fire freaks me right out.

What I remember as I came running into the basement was seeing my mother pulling the bedding off the bed.  Feeding the fire with oxygen as she made the sheets accessible and created a draft.  I can see the burned wire, I knew the source immediately.  There is a foot high bank of flames the width of a double bed, smoke is really starting to accumulate.  When I come back telling my mother to get the first extinguisher the flames are higher.  I know how fast this can just take off.  She won’t come with me. I got to get dad and the cat out of the house because all this time I’m on the phone with 911 and they’re saying “GET OUT NOW!!!” and she won’t come.  I go down to get her out because she’s still down there and now it’s dark because the fuses have blown and I start to really freak.  And see her carrying a burning pillow into the bathroom with pieces of burning cotton falling to the floor.  I’m pulling on her and pulling on her and she won’t move.

The white stuff is from the fire extinguisher.  See all the paper by the bed?? the empty paper boxes??  I just can’t get them to see the trap they’ve created.

“NO I have to put out the fire!!!!”

“Mom we have to leave NOW!!!!  We could die!”


Shit I don’t actually know how we all got out but we all did.


My brother is still coming but now he has to stay in a hotel because his guest room is destroyed.  The house reeks but is getting better but the basement is appalling.

The garage was so bad that they couldn’t bring in a stretcher for dad last Monday when he has his stroke.  My mom was moving boxes from around my dad and told my brother that I lied, that she was moving stuff, they could have got the stretcher in but she’s seriously separated from reality.  They tried.  They had to walk him out of the house and put him on the stretcher the minute they got him out the front door. To do that one person pulled on his arms and two people moved his legs one at a time up a flight of stairs.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  But at least finally this house is going to get cleaned out.  The insurance company will insist on it if the fireman’s warning wasn’t enough.

It took the cops to get my dad to stop driving and now it’s taken the fire department to get my parents to seriously consider how they bizarre hoarding and mess is going to kill us dead. We can’t even check all the outlets in the house because we can’t get to them. My brother and I have been after them for years about the state of this house. The treat us like we’re the biggest stupidest children and how could they be so burdened to have such nags… It’s become quite clear that what I’ve suspected for some time, mom isn’t thinking much clearer than dad is true. I’m going to get their church care committee phone numbers today and call the head lady and see if they can help my parents find some connection with reality. The fire began at 6am by 8am I had them agreeing that we need to get this house cleared of clutter so we can do an inspection and by 10am my mom’s saying we don’t need to do that and dad is going “what’s going on?”

The fireman?  His name is Dan. We are now on a first name basis. We’ve met suddenly twice this week. As my cousin Corrina said this morning, “Christ on a crutch Cynthia!”

Miss Mitty is back under the bed, the folks are going to church, and I’m writing in my blog.  The world must be back to normal right?

16 thoughts on “Three’s the Charm? Uncle? FIRE!!!

  1. gosh..that was .. gosh… and eek… and (((hugs))).. i know that there will be ups and downs and something called critical incident stress.. *nods*..

    also.. yay for doing an excellent job, and you were persistent with the get out now… yay.. also .. (((more hugs)))

    • Thank you! And thanks for commenting. I don’t think I’ve found your blog before, looking forward to looking and reading more detail.


      • ohh i am newish to that blogspot *beams* and still tyrying to figure out how it all works.. *ponders this and pushes a few random buttons*..tehe

  2. Yipes stripes and that doubled! I’m glad to hear that all the living beings were not harmed, truly Dame Fortune smiled on you. (((hugs))) to you and Miss Mitty. I hate to think of the outcome were you not living there! If there is insurance, there may be money for the restoration, (but will certainly require serious decluttering) If I were there , I’d make you a cup of tea…

  3. OMG indeed!

    I am so grateful you are all OK. That cuppa tea is a good idea, along with some deep breaths. (I’d be shaking to hard to write.)

    Goddess Bless that it was a close call and not a tragedy.

  4. A long hot shower until all the hot water was gone, a trip to the library, some Mexican goodness for lunch, a stop at Bath and Body where they had buy 2 get one free. Mmmmm, jasmine/vanilla, sandalwood/fig, and lavender/vanilla rollon perfume. $20 did the trick. And a decaf latte with sugar free vanilla. A nap in 2 minutes. Done.

    Everyone’s calming down but my mother’s denial is so hard to crack. She’s all, let’s not hurry, we have time to clean things out. Girlfriend, this house is going to be purged the day after my brother arrives. This is ridiculous. I will do all I can to be sensitive to their stuff but there is so much pure JUNK.

    And here’s Mom bitching about Dad’s basement room when the bedroom next to mine is almost to the ceiling with her boxes of stuff, boxes with one thing in them, boxes with nothing in them at all. A total fire hazard. “well I don’t know, I think we should think about this, take our time.” Christ on a Crutch MOTHER!

    She doesn’t mean to but her denial and co-dependency is out of control and she just can’t see it. She’s trying so hard to hold my father together that she just can’t think clearly any more. They’re both 82 and it’s obvious that it’s time to start seriously stepping in. We all need help, myself included. I don’t know the best way to do this but I’m getting help and support and good ideas. . .

    Thankfully we do have tons of homeowners insurance. The adjuster is coming tomorrow to help us figure it all out. We’re getting that basement cleaned up and repainted and the house oxonated or whatever the heck you call it.

    *shakes head* Man.

  5. OMG! It never rains, it pours! I am so glad that you, your mom & dad and Miss Mitty are safe! Very scary, indeed. I am thinking of you!

    I do hope that the insurance company & church will be able to provide help that’s needed to get things under control. I wonder if social services might be appropriate? If they truly have detrimental hoarding issues then a specialized therapist & professional organizer would definitely been beneficial. Sounds like they need to hear if from a “pro” to take issues seriously.

  6. HOLY COW!
    I swear the Universe is helping you, but WOW what a cost!
    Just reading this I could feel myself wanting to go into a full blown panic!
    well, at least some one is going to help you get all the fire traps out…right????
    will the insurance people , besides helping you get the smoke and mess out, help you get the rid of the “stuff”?
    I am so glad you have a support system in place, because your going to need it!
    I would light a candle for you, but

    flames and all that…
    how about just a little love and light?

  7. yeah, really hating flames at the moment. No candles for me.

    I have no idea what that insurance people are going to do, they are coming today.

    I am so sick of this crap. really really sick of this crap.

  8. As ever, the faeries and I are here to offer comfort, support and pixies with forks to prod and prick where needed. You deserve our faerie Hero of the Year award for showing such good sense and grace under enormous pressure. We’re handing it out early because we foresee nothing worse happening this year — so that’s good news! Mwah!

    PS: What is the first/last photo a picture of? The ceiling? Sooty Mitty paw prints?

    • Awesome!

      The prints are from my mother’s hands as she came out of the basement after trying to battle the fire with her bare hands. Gah!

      • Oh, dear. That just put me over into nightmare land. No sleep tonight for me. The burning pillow was bad, bad, bad, but blackened, sooty hands — nuh uh. Can’t go there. Last remaining brain cell will run screaming from my head straight out into the street without any clothes on and the neighbors probably wouldn’t bat an eye, just step on her–squish. I need that last brain cell. We are now data dumping this information and saying, “We love you more than EVAR!”

      • The thought of lighting candles right now freaks me out. Last night as I was going to sleep I kept seeing flames leaping in my peripheral closed eye vision. I was so afraid to go to sleep. I hope tonight will be better. Tomorrow the Big Cleanup happens and being in the solution will help us immensely.

  9. Holy hell. I’m so glad that you all made it out okay! That could have been so much much worse, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that! Jesus. I think unfortunately though that you may be right about your mom not being any more clear headed than your father, and on that…I am truly sorry to say and hear. =( I can’t imagine how difficult it has to be with all of this constantly going on. I am hoping and praying that you all can get some of the help you need. And that your parents let you start to clear away some stuff so that you can prevent another fire!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s