Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Fire

Today we had a fire at our house. Mike and I had gone to the grocery store and when we returned home, the back deck and the back corner of the garage were on fire! I grabbed the garden hose and called 911. Two firetrucks and several firefighters responded. Although hearing those sirens was a "sweet" sound, by the time they arrived, I had the deck fire out but was still spraying water on the garage. I gave permission for the firemen to break down the garage door that was locked to get inside. They tore out part of the inside wall as well as the siding on the outside. They are unsure of the fire's origin so they took evidence samples and a police report was made. The lab will check for accelerants (such as the charcoal starter fluid that was sitting on our back deck). It was like watching CSI in action! Fire investigation is one of the most difficult of the forensic sciences to practice. Unlike most forensic disciplines, even the basic question of whether a crime has been committed is normally not obvious. During a fire investigation, an entire process must be undertaken just to determine if the case involves arson or not. The difficulty of determining whether arson has occurred arises because fire often destroys the key evidence of its origin.
I actually inhaled some of the smoke but luckily, not much. I was coughing and my throat hurt. Smoke inhalation occurs when you breathe in the products of combustion during a fire. Combustion results from the rapid breakdown of a substance by heat (more commonly called burning). Smoke is a mixture of heated particles and gases. It is impossible to predict the exact composition of smoke produced by a fire. The products being burned, the temperature of the fire, and the amount of oxygen available to the fire all make a difference in the type of smoke produced. Most interestingly though is the fact that they assumed Mike had put out the fire. I told them several times that I put out the fire but they didn't seem to hear me. This was actually the second time I fought a fire! Years ago when I lived in Streator, Illinois, my stupid ex-husband left a lit candle burning and went to bed. I was already asleep so I was not aware of it, until the livingroom was on fire! I managed to contain the flames while he called 911. I kept it under control enough that there was only minimal damage. Once the Fire Department arrived, I exited the house like a bat out of hell! Only, it was December and I was naked (I used to sleep au natural). I didn't realize I was butt-naked until someone brought me a blanket! At least I value my life over my possessions. For Christmas that year my boss gave me a fire extinguisher! Now if I could just recreate that adrenaline feeling I had while fighting the fire for Roller Derby, I'd be unstoppable! Seriously though, I owe the Urbana Fire Department a great big thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you guys are ok. Sorry you have to deal with damage. That sucks.