Dec 22, 2011

Happy birthday to me.... YIKES!

On the 21st of December was my birthday. I had a lovely day relaxing with my Mum, my kids and Daz. We didn't do anything real exciting, which was fine by me. I just enjoyed the simplicity and relaxing activities of the day, and being spoiled with gifts and love. That evening we headed out to look at Christmas lights, which is a tradition in our family.

(Excuse the dodgy photos, but it's soooo much easier uploading photos from my iPhone instead of the SLR)
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
(This one is in time to music!!)

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Towards the end of the evening, we dropped into a petrol station to get the kids an icecream. As I was getting out the car, I noticed the attendant RUNNING madly around the register and over to the door. As the kids piled out of the car, the attendant had locked the doors and put a sign up saying it was only fuel purchases only. I was annoyed. How rude! Little did I know that God was putting us in position for something important.

We had to travel further north to get an icecream, and then head back to the route we were going to take to look at the rest of the lights and head home. That added 15 extra minutes to our outing. And those 15 minutes were going to count. We headed home, tired and happy - then as we were whizzing past homes towards our own home, I turned to look at all the dark homes, and saw flames engulfing one living room of one house. FIRE!! "Honey that house is on fire!!" I said urgently, who promptly did a u-turn and we headed back. Thank goodness my Daz is not a "Someone else will get it" sort of person! The house looked abandoned, as some of those houses are, so Daz pulled out his phone and started to call emergency and I stayed in the car. "What number is the house?" he asked, but my night vision is so terrible, I had to get out of the car and walk right across the road and stand in front of the mail box to see the number. God used my dreadful eyesight, because to my horror I could hear banging and screaming from the inside of the house. There were people stuck inside! All the windows were covered in security screens, locking the tennants in the burning house. I ran back across the road to and told Daz to tell 000 that there were people trapped inside, and then I ran back over trying to work out where the banging was coming from. I couldn't pick it. I scanned the house looking for faces, or anything that would tell me where they were. A man pulled up behind our car, noticing me running backward and fowards across the road franticly and after seeing the flames, he jumped out of his car. I yelled out to him, "There are people trapped inside!!"

By now the whole living room was ablaze and the glass was popping and there were small explosions in the house. I was utterly terrified, but that man bravely assessed and worked out where the banging and screaming was coming from. They were trapped in the adjacent garage, right next to the flames. He ran over and quickly opened the door, and out came 3 children, their grandmother, a heavily pregnant mother and the father from a cloud of smoke. I lead the three children and the grandmother out and up to the footpath, the children sobbed and looked back at the flames with terror in their little faces. Something I cannot erase from my mind. It's stuck there forever I think! I turned back to see if the rest of the family were following, but the father had collapsed on the ground, metres away from the exploding glass and the terrible heat of the flames. The man who let them out had gone looking for a hose or something so I was alone. It was far too dangerous to be this close to the house, the flames were getting bigger and quickly taking over the house. I went back for him grabbed his shoulders and shook him "Mate you can't stay here, it's too dangerous, you need to get up!" He didn't move.  "Common!! You have to move!" I said more urgently. The heat of the fire was burning my face and I was absolutely terrified (My lips were cracked and sore after that 30 second encounter with the flames) Somehow I managed to get him to hear me, hauled him up and lead him to the footpath where it was safer.

I looked back at the flames and the roof had caught alight!! Fire is not a slow mover, let me tell you!!! I stood with the family as they watched their home burning before their eyes, saying nothing and just allowing them to cry and sob. Daz asked them about gas, did they have gas in the house? Yes they did? Where was the mains? They had no idea. The neighbours who had gathered to spectate, heard us say "Gas" and all quickly retreated to the other side of the road.

The fireys arrived within 10 minutes and made quick work of the flames, that by now had taken over half the house. A medic arrived not long after that, and I quickly spoke to him about the father and that he needs to be treated for shock. The medic told me he couldn't treat him straight away, and the children were his priority. He asked me to stay with the father and monitor him until he was able to get there. Daz helped the fireys, relaying the information we had learned from the family, as the family stood by shocked and relatively incoherant, unable to think clearly and quickly. There is gas, but unsure where the mains are, there are pets inside.... I learned as I stood with the family, that it was deliberately lit, someone threw a flammable bomb into the living room, where the father was sleeping, surrounding him in flames. This was then passed on to the fireys who then taped off the whole area.  

God really put us in that place at the exact right moment so that lives would be saved, and we could help. Not many cars were driving down the road at that time of night... and it's likely that if we didn't see the flames, no one would have seen it until too late. 5 minutes later and that family could have well died of smoke inhalation in that garage, or burned from the roof that was burning above them.  If we had gotten our ice creams from the first service station, it is likely we would have driven past this house that would still be sleeping and dark - with a fire just about to be lit.

And next time something inconvenient happens again, like that service station attendant did... I am not going to complain. God could be positioning me for something else... although I hope it's not as crazy as this last episode!!!