Neale's Close Call with a House Fire + Safety Tips

On the 2-4 weekend, 6am in the morning, I was woken up to my neighbour frantically screaming that there was a fire in her apartment. So I shot out of bed just to see what the hell was going on, not actually thinking there was a fire. As I caught my bearings, I started to smell smoke and got worried.

I told my partner to get out of bed and quickly organize himself while I ran upstairs to see what was going on. Ran into her apartment to see it completely engulfed in black smoke and a wall of molten lava.

We hurried out of the apartment and ran back downstairs as the neighbours tried to get us out of the house. Ran back into the apartment to quickly decide what were the three most important things in my life. So first and foremost, my partner, my dog, and my wallet. And anything else I could manage to grab. Not even thinking about my entire wardrobe or other worldly goods.

Quickly proceeded out of the house and onto the street, only to watch as the roof burst into flames. Immediately we all thought the same thing: there goes our entire lives.

As the twelve (!!) fire trucks arrived they quickly entered the house to try to get control of the blaze. And tried salvaging what they could of our apartments. Luckily they got the fire under control and saved most of our possessions from going up in smoke (not to mention my extensive Gotstyle wardrobe).

Upon talking to the fire chief, if it had been a minute later, the whole house would have went up in flames.

As we re-entered our apartment 5 hours later, we had noticed that luckily all of our stuff was OK, but the structure was severely water damaged. The woman upstairs is now out of her apartment for the next 5 months while they rebuild it.

Three weeks later, we’re still living in a construction zone outside of our bedrooms. Thankful that our lives, while disrupted are otherwise undamaged.

Important things to make sure you have in place if a fire should ever happen to you:

  1. A plan to exit the house & meeting area
  2. Keep ID and passport, phone, key in the same area for quick access (ie. fire proof safe or bed side table)
  3. Always pay attention to alarms or people frantically screaming. Don’t dismiss someone’s cries for help or warning
  4. Get renters insurance – landlords typically have their own to cover the physical space but not your personal belongings
  5. Have a support group you can contact when in distress
  6. Ultimately your possessions are tangible – what’s more important is the people and their safety

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