It All Began With A House Fire
It's one of those "it will never happen to me" situations. But it happened. In 2017 our house burned down. My husband Bill was asleep inside as was our dog. It's a miracle Bill survived and I am thankful for his existence in our lives to this day.
The day after the fire we started writing and that's how this blog began. We went through a lot of therapy; learning to manage new found anxiety and PTSD and unpacking the emotions behind what we had experienced.
We had a community who rallied behind us and held us up when we could not.
We started the rebuild process and when our builder walked off the job, stealing most of our money, we kept going.
Through it all I kept telling myself, this is all for a reason. Today that reason is twofold; it's changed the way we live life and it's given us a level of personal empathy to help others in similar situations.
(Photo is from the rebuild. I will not share house fire photos here as they can be triggering for those who are going through similar situations.)
What To Do If You Experience A House Fire
I wrote this blog post to share what was incredibly helpful for us after our house fire. It's a lot of very simple and practical advice. This is also a helpful guide if someone you know has experienced a fire. These are the ways you can help.
Read About Our House Fire Story
Below are links to our earliest blog posts about our fire experience. These are raw posts, written in real time of what we were experiencing. Trigger warning for anyone currently going through this experience. We wrote these to help ourselves process, we share them in hopes they will help others.
If you would like to continue the journey please visit the blog and go back through the archives.
by Chris The alarm went off on my phone, it was time to pick up Issa. I was wrapping up a phone call with a friend and closing up shop…
NOTE: You can read part 1 here “I need to call my mom.” “Mam, we need your ID.” “My phone and purse are in my car.” “Where is your car?”…
I’m not quite sure how to begin this story. It’s not something I’m particularly proud to tell, or know how to express well. So, I guess I’ll just start from…
If you missed it, Part One can be read here. At this point I’m still standing about 10 feet from the flames and smoke near the fence we share with…
Days after the fire a family friend messaged me and let me know friends of hers had a bed and some other furniture they would like to give me. Days…
I’ve always tent camped. My earliest camping memory was my mom picking me up from school, probably kindergarten. She had her Lincoln Continental packed to the brim and I sat…
Red Cross Assistance After A House Fire
A friend called the Red Cross and they were on the scene before the fire fighters left. We were able to cool off in their van and they provided essentials like toothbrushes and a toy for our daughter. They also aided us in the coming weeks by helping work with our doctor and insurance to get Bill a new CPAP machine. They are an incredible resource.
Resources for Preventing & Preparing for a Fire
We're Here to Help
We've had several people reach out to us through our website or Instagram over the years who have gone through a house fire and have questions or need someone to listen who knows how it feels. We're here for that. If you want to please, reach out to us on Instagram or send us a message through this form.
A Thank You Note to Those Who Helped Us
To the Klein Fire Department, EMTs and all the Emergency Responders on that day: Thank you. From the bottom of my heart thank you. To the female EMT who caught me when I was running towards my burning house, and caught me again as I passed out, who was the voice of reason and calm when I was totally loosing my shit, thank you. To every. single. fire fighter, you are amazing people. You ran into my home when it was the most dangerous place to be. You risked your lives to save my dog, husband and the home that we had built. I am no-one to you, but to me, you are everything. To the fireman who held the tarp as we said goodbye to Sam, who would not make eye contact with me out of respect for what was happening, thank you. To Barry, who worked on Sam for a very long time trying to save her, and then appologized to me like it was your fault she was gone and then held me as I cried, thank you. To the fireman who came to save our house on your birthday, thank you. To the men who came to me as I sat on the lawn sobbing after the fire was out and offered to try to find things out of what remained in our house, thank you. To those same men who pulled out my wedding ring, the quilt I made Issa when I was pregnant, our wedding album and her pooh bear. Thank you. To each and every person there that day, trying to make the horrors cease, I may not have seen each of you, but I know you saw me. You mourned with me. Thank you.
To David at Experimac West Houston who called us when he heard about what happened and set us up with a Mac right away so that I could start writing and so we could start making The List. I cried a lot after I got his call. Without him we wouldn’t have had a computer to work with, at a price we could afford on the small advance the insurance company had sent us in the first week after the fire (we also had to purchase clothes, shoes, underwear, toothpaste, etc. with that small advance). He’s also helped us replace so many of our Apple products and has been awesome about finding us affordable replacements for exactly what we needed.
To Our Neighborhood and Neighbors: You watched it go down, you smelled the smells, and you cried with us. To every person I encountered that day, and the days after, thank you. You held me when I cried. You caught me when I was overcome with grief and fear. You sent messages and love and support. You brought food and water. You saw me waiting afterwards and you handed me money. You donated clothes and shoes and toys and games. To the kids who made my daughter an awesome poster, thank you. You are all why we love where we live, you are why we will rebuild.
To my daughter’s school, who without question took care of her when I had to rush to the fire. They covered her tuition for the year and let me bring her in any day needed and stay late when needed. Thank you for being so supportive and for loving us and my daughter so very much. Thank you for your prayers.
To Toms Shoes...I wrote a message to TOMS. I told them the jist of our story, and the following: “We’ve lost everything, including a huge collection of toms. I’ve counted for insurance purposes and I believe it was at least 14 pairs between myself, my husband and my 4 year old daughter. The one pair I still have were the cream classics I wore that day, now covered in the remains of my home. I don’t know why I’m writing you. I do know that one of my best friends brought me a pair of her toms, when ALL I had left was the dirty pair. Putting them on was the closest to normal I’ve felt since this whole thing. I felt like I just need you all to know that.That somehow, these silly shoes with a cause made me feel a little normal when my life had been totally changed. Thanks for that.” I just needed them to know. They responded by telling me that they wanted to send Issa and I matching TOMS. I cried on the toilet when I read it (don’t judge, we all look at Facebook on the toilet). Thank you.
To Our Family and Friends: You have been our rock. You have come out from the woodwork of our lives and loved us, without mention of time or distance. You have sent us gifts, and money and gift cards and so much. Your text messages, and calls and FB messages are what keep us going. We can feel your prayers, the love is overwhelming.
To the Strangers & Businesses:
To the wife of the firefighter who donated clothes that were exactly my style and size. Some of the clothes you sent were exact items I had in my closet that I loved. Thank you.
The the people at Zappos, when after hearing of our story from my best friend asked her how many pairs of converse you could send to my husband. Thank you.
To the employee at Whole Foods who celebrated with me when I found the PACT underwear in my size and style and then hugged me after hearing about the fire and marked down a pack for me. Thank you.
To Joybird Houston, where I bought my dream couch 4 months ago, where you helped me work through fabric choices and wood colors all while Issa bounced around on all the furniture. I have just heard that they are going to remake our couch for free. When I heard this I cried. Thank you.
SO MANY MORE
We have so many more to thank, and will continue to do so within this space. If you’re not listed here, its not that we’ve forgotten your love and thoughts and blessings on our family, we just haven’t gotten to write about it yet because there is SOO much. Thank you, over and over, thank you.