Monday, July 25, 2005

Fire - Day 2

Henry drove up earlier than I did - so we would have 2 cars. I got off about an hour later. Debra fixed me a lunch box so I could stay on my diet. While I messed up a little bit on my directions to his house, once I found the street, it was easy to see which house - the one surrounded by the yellow tape. Martha and Hugh were there. Henry had bought a generator. Hugh and his son, Gary, were out getting plywood to secure the house.

Henry had prepared me, but I found that for the most part, the house was not as bad as I had expected. The most damaged rooms were black, ugly, and pretty well disasters. In three rooms, the firemen had torn out the ceilings to make sure that there was no fire in the attic.

The rest of the house had an eerie look. It is funny how you could see the patterns of the smoke from the thickness of the soot and grime on the walls. Some areas were black as could be, others gray, some just dingy. The spider webs took on new character as the black soot made them so visible. Thomas and Stephanie's bedroom, while lightest hit, had other poignant aspects. All her collectibles from Disney figurines to cute stuffed animals were coated with black yuck!

The property manager showed up, and surveyed the scene. Her take on the lease was that Thomas would be responsible for the damage. What a sinking feeling that gave! Thomas feared that this was going to wipe him out financially. My prevailing thought was that God would help us get through this. But it was definitely going to be a one step at a time process.

We got hold of our insurance people and made appointments for Tuesday for them to do their assessment. At least they had been smart enough to buy the renter's insurance. And, it was especially nice that the first call was to an agent that we had done business with for years. Thank God for friendly voices!

The weather was hot, the house had no air conditioning. Henry bought a generator and a box fan. Hugh and Gary used it to cut the plywood, board the walls, and to drill a new hole for a new lock for the kicked in door.

Most of my day was spent either in the drive or trying to contact all the people and keep Thomas notified as to what was going on. While his boss would have let him come home early, Thomas was the one familiar with this job - and amazingly (and with God's help) he got finished what he needed to do.

The last thing on the agenda was Stephanie's cats. There were four that had been rescued from the house. The reports were that they were lethargic when removed. One had a heart condition. We checked with the animal shelter to find out where they were and could we pick them up. After conferring with my friend Bettye as to what kind of carriers we needed, we bought four carriers in two sizes. When we loaded the cats, I was looking for Angel, Stephanies' oldest and perhaps favorite cat. It was only after we had them all loaded that I realized that the first cat - the big gray one- was actually her white fluffy Angel. All the cats showed signs of soot and were no longer their original color. They all chatted to us as we put them in the jeep. Henry drove them home and delivered them to Stephanie, who was relieved to see them alive and well. They are certainly more insecure now - they stay close to her and to each other. But they are well and alive.

I headed to Martha's house. A dip in the pool and a final diet meal, and I was ready for sleep.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I'm anxious to hear how this all turned out. Especially to know what caused it. I don't understand how the landlord can say Thomas is responsible. Of course he would be for his stuff, but I didn't know he could be for the structure. I too am thankful for renter's insurance.