I noticed the light changing outside. It was too early for the sun to be setting. But the sky was an eerie color for that time of day. As I stepped out onto the porch there was a golden yellow glow and the sky overcast…immediately I knew. FIRE!
But where? What direction? The wind was strong. This smoke that filled the air was blown in …I looked directly to the front, east. Nothing. To my left North was patchy with blue still visible. As I turned back and looked behind me…a dense smoke in the distance. It filled the air from over the tree tops, all the way down to the horizon, beneath the trees. It was a grass fire.
I ran back inside and grabbed the receiver on the phone and dialed 9-1-1.
Please reach the right county, I whispered under my breath. We are so close to the county line—we sometimes get the next county over. It went through—I told them I was reporting a fire. She knew my location. “Lively?” she asked. At that moment- I could hear the sirens, very faintly, in the distance. They sounded so far away. I told her “yes.”- she asked if we were alright? Again, “Yes.” ----and then we released the phone line.
My daughter and I ran up to the Farm-to-Market hi-way- and we could feel the heat from the fire, mixed with the already dry summer air. We could see the flames moving in front of us, across our path ahead. It looked as if it might continue Eastward. Once we reached the hi-way, We stood there for a moment …the smoke was intense! I had to get back. I had to get my daughter and myself home.
We had to get our family out of there!
My heart was pounding already.
I knew we had to run. As I turned to look back—in shock, I saw the flames reaching out to touch the pavement and suddenly leap like a playful bunny…completely across the road. Oh heaven help us, the fire has crossed the hi-way.
The grass was on fire and it was heading toward our property!
When I reached the house—I could hear the phone ringing. I answered it about the same time First Responders pulled into our driveway to park. Panicking- I told the caller to we were trapped. Our road only goes in and out one way and the fire was blocking our exit! I told her come get my babies! I rounded up my children and my grandchildren at the time—and as she pulled into the other part of our car park, just in front of the First Responders –I was waiting for her. She assured me if the fire came close to her house she would drive out the back of her pasture to the next road and drive to safety! I kissed my kids good-bye and closed the car door.
Almost 15 years ago…and it is so vivid, still.
The sights, the sounds, the smell. I remember the fire trucks, the ambulance… I remember hearing the crashing metal, no screeching tires…JUST CRASH! Men, yelling for help at the end of the road. The smoke was so dense the driver never saw the Fire truck and slammed into the back of it as it came around the curve. Men, yelling, “structure fire!, STRUCTURE FIRE!” at the house 4 acres away.
I remember seeing the water truck as it ran right over the fence along our property and the spigot on the back being manned by a volunteer fireman, with head gear and coat—looking like something out of a science fiction film. His aim had dead on precision, as he blasted the flames, much like a gunner would do on a military tank. Oh! and the helicopter! Flying low over the fields and dumping hundreds of gallons of water—to quench the fire! CHAOS.
It was long ago…but I remember being so fearful. So afraid of fire. So close. So fearful.
I remember later; while at mid-week services, one of the women at the church telling me she had heard my cries on the phone, asking for help with the children…and how she stopped what she was doing, right there and SHE CRIED OUT TO GOD, FOR US.
God spared us. He spared those we love. He spared our home from devastating ravages of fire. He spared the driver of the car (who had only minor injuries) and the firefighters, the livestock. Why does he spare some and not others? It's not for me to answer. He spared us, here...for His purpose.
You see when that First Responder pulled into my car park with his radio… it picked up the signal and over heard my phone conversation being transmitted out over the Emergency Police Scanner. Her husband had bought a scanner and they kept it on in the kitchen. She heard the whole thing. The strangest part about it was – my cordless phone was not working. It had been dropped in the pool and we were relying on a desk top phone, complete with cords. I truly don’t know how this woman heard my voice…and knew to pray for us.
But she was faithful and answered God’s call to pray.
He built my faith through these circumstances.
Til next time, Be Blessed!
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
I'm participating in Nester's annual -31 Days of writing