On Thanksgiving morning at 5:30 am I woke up to the sound of a smoke alarm, I knew instantly that it was the dryer ( I will explain later how I knew) so my husband and I went running to the basement only to find flames inside under the drum where we could not reach them.. He yelled for me to fetch him some water so I ran upstairs to the kitchen to get water from the sink, I was standing right next to the big utility sink but didn't think to use that. After I reached the dryer again it dawned on me to use the sink I was standing next to. I still was not fully alert as the smoke alarms had awakened us from a pre thanksgiving slumber. I saw my Husband put a towel over his nose and mouth so I did the same using a thick mattress pad. "Should I call 911?" I asked "No we got this" he replied. I kept looking at the rafters above the dryer knowing that is where my daughter's bed is, where she is still sleeping soundly.( my gut was telling me to call 911 but I ignored it at this point). The mattress wasn't really helping me much and my lungs were burning so bad from the smoke, I still kept handing him water though. I thought if he can still take it and he is right over the fire then I can take it as well. Minutes passed and we were still trying to drown out the fire that was not getting any better. More smoke alarms started going off as the smoke started quickly creeping through the house. Despite the fact that I was holding a cloth over my nose and mouth my lungs burned worse that I had ever experienced and I wanted to cry. Finally, I left my husband in the room with the dryer that he was determined to extinguish and called 911. After I hung up with them (I was an a stationary land line in the basement) I ran upstairs to the main level of our house and yelled up to the 2nd floor to wake up my 2 boys that sleep up there. "Wake up. wake up, Fire! Fire! There is a fire in the house we need to get out" My 12 year old son thought it was just a fire drill and was strutting down the stairs with a half smile on his face. "This is not a drill there is a real FIRE" I shouted. He then picked up speed and came down quickly, my 2 other children were now awakened by my yelling and coming out of their room as well. After I got all the kids out of the house I ran through the house opening all the windows to let the smoke out (not thinking that the drafts could help feed the fire). I grabbed a few blankets on the way out for the kids who were outside freezing.
We stood there staring at our house shivering in the early morning hours and I was thinking was how much I had to be thankful for this year.
We could hear the fire trucks from far away and I tried to get the kids focused on how neat it is that those sirens we hear are just for us, racing their way to us.
Eight fire trucks arrived and they quickly got to work and did their magic. Luckily the dryer was up against a concrete wall and a concrete floor. The Fire Captain stated that if the dryer had been on anything else but concrete and next to anything else but concrete that our house would have defiantly went up in flames. Scary thought!
In this picture you can see the side of the dryer that was up against the wall.
The inside of the dryer, The clothes in the dryer were not salvageable most were burnt and charred.
The walls around the dryer were all black and charred. Here is the room that it all happened in. The ladder is where the dryer used to be. I repainted the walls and rafters with Kilz primer to cover up the blackened stains and help to seal in the smoke smell.
My youngest lost his favorite stuffed Giraffe. He asked for it before bed but I told him I would bring it in to him after he was asleep, I forgot :( It has been 6 days since the fire and he hasn't even asked where it is yet (fingers crossed he never does) not sure what I am going to say to him. I have tried to find that same giraffe on the internet but no luck so far. Poor sad Giraffe, he is all burnt and has holes in him from where the skin is just missing. The whole bottom of the giraffe was just gone!
The item we did manage to save was my youngest child's favorite mini size Minnie Mouse. Just a good soak in baking soda and the smoke smell was gone!
Fire safety month is in October and we did a much more in depth study this year than years before, and I am so glad that we did. Most of what I knew was right we didn't do but we did all make it. Thankfully we tested all our smoke alarms last month and put fresh batteries in all of them because that's what woke me up. I try not to think of what would have happened if the smoke alarms didn't work and I cringe when I think about the fact that my 3 yr old and 6 yr old sleep in the room directly over the washer and dryer. I will be placing a fire extinguisher near the washer and dryer from now on.
When you are done reading this please check all of your smoke detectors and replace batteries if more than a year old.
I am extremely thankful that there was less than $1000 worth of damage and that everybody was safe.