My neighbor had a house fire on Martin Luther King day this past year. There was a knock on my front door and my 5 year old looked out to see the neighbor kid with no shoes and no coat. It was freezing out that day. I asked him what was going on...he said his house was on fire. I looked down the street and saw his brother standing on the front porch.
This is where my ultra-calm social work background kicked in. I asked him if it was a big fire or small one. Big. Where was it? Kitchen. We have gas lines...insert overactive imagination. I asked him if they called the fire department...not yet. At this point smoke is billowing from the front of their house. The three boys live with their grandmother. I'm picturing her on the floor...I run for the phone and make the call. I'm on the phone giving the details and they're asking me lots of questions.
I interupted the dispatcher to tell them I have to get down there...there were kids on the front porch. I rushed five houses down and was surprised the phone reached all the way. At this point, I hear the sirens in the distance, but they were a ways off. I look inside and smoke is ceiling to floor. No smoke alarm going off. They didn't have them up. *cringe* I start yelling at the two boys and their friend to get out of the house.
I then start yelling for their grandmother to get out. Silence. I was not going in there unless I had to. Seconds tick by...finally she comes walking out. At this point we were drawing the neighbor crowd, but suddenly I was the one in charge. I found out later the grandmothr was inside fighting the fire. Don't ever do that...the smoke is toxic...let the professionals take care of it.
I get everyone out of the house and the first responders show up. They ask me if everyone is out of the house, and I turn around to see that the grandmother had slipped back inside to check on the fire. Insert moment of panic for the poor cop I had to tell...he runs in.
The firemen show up and save the day. I tell the dispatcher that everyone is there and I have to get home. My three boys are by themselves...we don't want another emergency today.