This was us Saturday during the day - enjoying the wonderful weather and sitting out by the pool. The house next door has no one living in it right now and has been that way for over a year. But how fast things can change and your peace of mind is blown to bits.
At 2:00 am I woke up with my Dad yelling FIRE AT THE NEIGHBORS! I was out the door in less than a minute and the flames of the neighbor's house was twice as high as the house. The picture below shows how high the flames were. Our house is the house with the white mailbox. This pic was taken by our friend, Sue, who lives down the street from us. She was sure it was our house burning. Five fire engines and many police cars pulled up. My cell phone rang and it was my friend Nicole 3 houses down yelling to me, "Peggy, are you ok!? We are coming!!"
I was instructed by the police and my Dad to grab the second set of garden hose by the pool and spray the roof of our house to save our house. As the water hit the shingles, they would steam because they were so hot from the neighboring flames. I was wearing a yellow slicker and realized it might melt on me due to heat. Dad was on the other side of our gate and I was terrified that the flames would get to him. We were yelling back and forth to each other. But the sound of the fire was deafening. Then the water pressure dropped to nothing and I realized we could not fight the heat - but that did not last long and we were back to spraying the house. The woods behind the house was burning and moving to our area. Our neighbor Josh ran up to me, gave me a hug and took my hose. He kept saying "It's going to be alright!" But I didn't want to give away my garden hose......it was the only thing I could do to help save our house.
Under our fence, the flames were creeping through and Josh sprayed it down and I got a bucket and threw water on the flames. Mom was in the back yard with us but could do little without garden hose. I am sure that was so frustrating for her. The fire moved toward the front of the house quicker than you would of thought possible. It was not until then that I could pull out my phone and take a couple of pictures and noticed how many police were standing about. Neighbors were out in both directions but now allowed to come by us.
And the firemen kept fighting the fire.
As the fire moved towards the front of the house, we were in less danger of the heat causing damage to ours. Finally I could take a picture.
The firemen said it was a "very hot fire".
They cut an X into the garage door before making holes in it to prevent the flames from jumping out at them.
Between the flames and their lights, you felt that it was daylight.
A beautiful house! Gone. 2400 square feet.
No roof anywhere.
Burned into the woods behind the house but Mother Nature will take care of that.
This is the backside of our new fence. We are so lucky. Probably 13 boards to replace.
This is part of my nightmare. These PVC pipes hold our drying bathing suits. I was standing next to this while spraying the roof - aware that the heat might melt my rain slicker. My rain slicker was very wet from the spray but the heat bent these pipes. WOW!
I was right here and Dad was on the other side of the gate.
So now what.......
- A destroyed house is next to us and lowering the worth of our neighbor's homes.
- How long will it take for this to be torn down. It is a DANGER to children with hanging timbers throughout. East to walk into the house.
- The smell.
- The ugliness.
- What the burned timbers actually represent.
Three days later.
I hate how this has made me feel. We could of lost our home and the neighbor on the other side of the burning house went through exactly what we did also. Worse than that, my father could of been injured or worse from the flames. At least I had a pool to back up to - he had no where to go. I see the flames still in my head and feel very uneasy going out to our backyard during the evening hours. My friend down the street wakes up asking her husband if there is a fire.
Oh, and in case you wondered - Kacey slept through the whole thing.
Many thanks to the Gulf Breeze and Navarre Fire Departments and Police. I am in awe of the work that you do and how calm you are during the worst of the fire. You all answered all our questions and offered to stop by whenever we need you. Thank you!!!!