Photo credit: Schick from morguefile.com
In 1999 the building I had my practice in caught on fire one night. I was there just a couple hours before I got a call at home that the building was on fire. Other businesses were in the building. My suite didn't sustain fire damage, but the smoke from the fire traveled through the building vents and every surface had black cooked on soot that wouldn't rub off. It was all black and the smell never left and made my eyes water when we were later allowed to enter the premises. It was strange to see firefighters working at containing the huge flames coming from the building I worked in. It must be so much worse seeing flames coming from the place you live with all your clothes and personal belonging being burned up.
I had another incident with fire, but it was an outside fire. Flames got away from some wood I was burning outside. It happened so fast and the wind took the grass fire away from the reach of the water hose. Wind can carry flames so fast, spreading and fanning the flames quickly. I ran inside to call 911, then back out to hook up other water hoses to see what I could do until help arrived. Adrenaline was flowing in me. I was tired, but kept going until help arrived. In the end, I learned an important lesson. Wet down the grass first around any wood I burn outside and make sure I have plenty of hose length right at hand. Fire is nothing to play with. It can get out of hand very fast even if you've burned outside many times before. The wind can make it unpredictable, so just think of everything and be well prepared is what I learned from that scary experience. Fortunately, the only thing I lost was my green lawn for a while and the grove of small pine trees regrew after being burned to a crisp.
Had a neighbor not happen to notice smoke coming from my coworkers home and awakened them so they could all get out in time, I dare think that family could have perished of smoke inhalation in their sleep. All their belongings can be replaced. They have each other, friends, church family and most important of all, their Lord. I wonder what lessons they will learn from their fire? God protected them that night.
Update: My co-worker has returned to work. He and his family are in another house and when I mentioned that I was happy to hear that no one was hurt, his immediate reply was, "God is good."