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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful For Life

I was planning to write a blog asking everyone to comment on what they were thankful for, and still planning to do so, but in light of a recent tragedy has definitely changed my family's "generic" outlook on Thanksgiving, this blog has turned a slightly different direction. Only a couple of days ago, my sister and her husband's house caught on fire. Thank God no one was hurt, but if were not for the events that played out in this tragedy, then our family could be mourning the loss of my brother-in-law, Lennie, and their 18 month-old son, Gabriel, instead of just the house and its contents.

My sister, Renee, and her 3 year-old-daughter, Samara, were out doing erands with our father, Dewayne, that day. Only 45 minutes before his bedroom was completely in flames, Gabe had woken-up, and alerted Lennie to go get him. They were sitting in their finished basement, watching the Wiggles on TV, when a man started banging on their door. Since they live near a busy road, Lennie assumed someone had gotten into a car accident. He ran to the door, only to be told that their house was on fire! Since he had closed the basement door downstairs and the baby monitor had been temporarily moved to a room upstairs, Lennie was completely unaware of the situation. He ran back inside down to the basement to grab their 18 month-old baby, and made it outside in time. By this time, the entire upstairs of their house was engulfed with smoke, Gabe's bedroom completely engulfed in flames, and nearest two rooms were feeling the heat damage. The man let Lennie use his cell phone to call the fire department and our family.

If it had not for been Gabe waking-up when he did, and for that man who abruptly stopped in the middle of a busy road to tell them their house was on fire, this story could have ended much differently and horribly. Anyone who reads my blogs know that I'm not a religious person, but thank God for Gabe waking-up when he did, for that wonderful man who stopped to tell them their house was on fire. We could've easily lost two precious lives that day. I feel the remorse for those who weren't so "lucky", for lack of a better word.

The fire marshall felt that it was their baseboard (electric) heat is what caused the fire. Their central air/heat doesn't heat the bedrooms very well, and since Gabe was sick and the winter cold had settled-in lately, they had turned-up the baseboard in their bedrooms.

Of course, after this incident, many of my close family members are now being a lot more careful. My father and I bought some 9 volt batteries for our smoke detectors in our houses. We haven't replaced the dead batteries in them in a long time, and even went as far as to remove the batteries so that the alarms would stop beeping. What could become a life-threatening mistake!!! I encourage everyone out there reading this, DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!!! With the holidays upon us, and many of us are burning more lights this time of the year than usual, make sure your smoke detectors have new 9 volt batteries in them, and make sure you have at least a couple of working smoke detectors in your house!!! In fact, it wouldn't be a bad idea to invest $30 or more into charged fire extinguishers, but don't try to play "hero" if you're ever caught in this scenario!!!
Even though no one was harmed in this fire, their upstairs is ruined. Almost all of Gabe's belongings (clothing, crib, etc.) are gone. Pictures of their wedding and special memories hanging on the walls are gone forever. Most items can be replaced, but their pictures can never be. Thank God it wasn't their lives.

Since this incident, my family is very thankful for the lives spared that day, to the man who knocked on their door to warn them, and to the Lovelady firefighters who responded as quickly as they could to minimize the damage done to their house and putting their lives in harm's way. I could never thank any of you enough.

Please e-mail the link of this blog (http://junkmail3612.blogspot.com/2008/11/thankful-for-life.html) to anyone and everyone you know! I can only hope and pray that someone reading this heeds my advise, and save someone's home, or even their lives. If my local newspaper posts an article on their house fire, I'll post the link or the article on here.

Please comment on anything any of you are thankful for.

3 comments:

jennifer said...

I am also thankful that everyone is safe. Things could have played out much differently. You know I'm a Buchanan-by-Proxy, and you're my family too! *L* I, of course, absolutely hate that Lenny and Renee's house suffered damage, but I am so thankful that they are all safe. I am thankful that this didn't happen late at night when they were all asleep. I'm thankful the baby woke up before the smoke started. I'm thankful for the man who stopped to knock. I am thankful that Renee and Lenny have family to fall back on that can assist them with a place to stay, clothes to wear, etc. I know you've all been shaken to the core with all of this, and everything will work out just fine. I love you all so much, and I'm glad to have you--all of you--in my life!

P.S.
Another thing to remind people, always vacuum out your baseboard heaters every year before turning them on! Dust can catch fire!

Candice said...

All I can say is thank God they are ok. I went over there today to look at the damage, and it's truly devastating. I only wish we knew the name of the man that stopped and pounded on the door to let Lennie know that the house was on fire. I am truly grateful to know that there are still caring people in this world. Renee had told me that Gabe was only in a onsie when Lennie had brought him outside (of course thats what most our kids are in when we are at home) and someone lady just out of the blue, brought a jacket over and gave it to Lennie to put on Gabe since it was cold outside. I am thankful for my family.... so thankful! I am thankful that we all have eachother to lean on in times of need and in this case a tragedy. I am thankful for our friends and church family... people are asking left and right what they can do to help them make this as easy as possible. I love Lennie & Renee and the kids so much and have NO idea what I would do if they weren't with us anymore. And as Jen said.... I am so thankful that the fire happened when it did.... they could have all been sleeping in the middle of the night... I am truly amazed at God'd grace and how He watches over us every single minute of out lives!!! I am also gonna comment (and you're gonna hate this lol) that it made me smile so big when I read in your blog "Thank God!" I know you don't believe the same way that I do.... but God is out there whether you believe in Him or not.. and He DID keep our family safe! I love you!

Julie.Hovis said...

I'm really glad that everyone was ok. This terrible event reminds me of a fire in my home town about 12 years ago. They were not so lucky. I will leave it at that. If you wanna know the story let me know via myspace or work. I don't wanna post it here, too sensitive.

I'm thankful for my husband. It takes a very special person to marry someone with my disorder. I'm thankful that I have such a strong will - Taurus, go figure.

My thoughts are with you guys. I really hope things go as easily as they can be in such a situation.