Janis tells her story about the fire
Until it happens to you it never seems quite as severe. I have a new found respect for fires, smoke and our service men and women. Monday night was just another day out on the farm. Animals were fed, boyfriend was fed, the day was winding down and I had just crawled into a hot bubble bath. The boyfriend, Kevin was watching t.v. and it was just another average day. I had just hit play on Netflix on my phone and the jets from the tub were rumbling when I heard Kevin yell from the front room (I thought he was barking at the dog, which is weird but I decided to dismiss it and enjoy my bath). A few minutes later the bathroom door busted open and he yelled "the shop is on fire!"
Throwing clothes on, I ran out the door and right into the face of a roaring fire. Kevin had already called 911 and neighbors were outside helping Kevin move vehicles that snuggled the shop. I was in a state of pure confusion and disbelief. Emergency vehicles started arriving as I ran into the house to grab keys for one of the rigs. I passed the keys off to Kevin and from there it went from confusion to fear real fast. As I tried to get around the front of the house and out of the line of the blasting water and the fire itself I found myself overcome in debilitating black smoke. It went bad real fast. All it took was one breath and my lungs filled with smoke and panic set in. My eyes were burning and couldn't see even an inch infront of me. Suddenly everything I learned as a child about fire and smoke safety went out the window and I was in trouble. I was outside and I knew there was fresh air out there somewhere, if I could just get to it.
I tried to make my way to the street but the more steps I took the worse it got. My very next step was a doosie, it was the abrupt edge of the sidewalk. Thinking I was about to step on even ground I fell hard, landed on my bad knee and banged up my hip and lower back. Still unable to breathe. I could hear firefighters near by, but couldn't yell out. By this point my head was buried in my shirt and I was trying like hell to get any sort of air, to no avail. I frantically crawled around on the ground feeling around for something familiar to direct me. Finally, the fence! I knew where I was and that there would be fresh air soon, if I could just get around the house without falling down anymore!
I made it to the back of the house where the air was clear and I "sorta" got my bearings. I watched as the blaze grew and threatened the house and the horse trailer. The shop was completely engulfed at this point and ten tons of hay was roaring with flames. Suddenly the water stopped and the flames were literally licking the side of the house, I remember yelling "NO! Why are they not putting it out!?" and then the realization pierced my ears. Gun shots... There were gunshots!
The shop was full of many different kinds of ammo and the shells were exploding from the heat creating a war zone for the firefighters. They took cover and waited for the bullets to subside (felt like forever but was only minutes).
I was alone in the backyard at this point, so I did what any girl would do, I called my dad. I scared him half to death in that phone call and I look back and realize how scary it must have truly been to receive that call. I told him I was trapped in the backyard, when in reality there were acres upon acres of open field behind me. But at the time I felt trapped. I just wanted to get back to the front with Kevin and know he was safe. Eventually the firefighters tamed the flames and things started to seem to be under control. I made my way back around the front and found Kevin standing there watching forty years of his belongings burn to the ground. I put my arm around him and just hugged him. I remember thinking this poor man, all of his tools, his deer racks, his pictures, his memories and his HARLEY!
AS I am hugging him, watching him watch his bike burn to the ground I glance around and realize we are standing directly in front of his bike, the bike I thought was burning up in the fire! He had managed to get it out while I was still just trying to get out of the bath!
Everyone is ok and all the animals are safe and were unharmed. The shop and all that was inside are a total loss but we are grateful and very thankful nobody was harmed and that it wasn't worse than it was. I am grateful for everyone in my life who called, messaged and stopped by to hug my neck.