Three Houses on fire one mile away.

As I was writing my last blog I was alerted that a house was on fire down the road from us. That is a huge problem I live in an area with no fire department. My wife and neighbor drove the mile to check on our neighbors, what happens to one of us happens to all of us on our Island. Now the huge part of it all, one house is tragic enough, the house next to it caught on fire, then the one next to it. There are now three houses on fire down the road, I know them all well also some of the owners.

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Response time is twenty minutes, the firefighters come from another city 1/2 hour distant under normal driving times, twenty minutes for emergency vehicles. Fire moves rapidly as this one is no exception, it is not yet under control, another house could possibly catch as well. The owners of the second house were awake when they heard what sounded like a gunshot, alarmed she ran to the back of the house thinking something happened to her disabled husband. Suddenly loud banging was coming from the front door, she grabbed her purse and husband escaping in the nick of time. Everything they own is gone, the home is a total loss nothing is left standing as is the first house.

The third house ignited as soon as the flames shot over the roofline, the owners of that home escaped as well. We are fortunate that the wind died down usually a prevailing wind of 5-11 mph is our constant companion, this day we lucked out. The third house is a total loss as the flames did not engulf the fourth house, for another to catch on fire would be difficult as the fire department is training their hoses on it.

Holy Cow, last month we had two homes burn down on the same day, in that instance they were several miles apart. One was a terrible tragidy, the lady that owned it died, the worst outcome possible. The other home suffered no casulaty’s and the house was not a total loss, I’m not sure how that came to be.

The fires of tonight will be all over the news tonight and tomorrow, it’s so big it may make the national news, what is it with California and fires?

We are without electricity, water, (we’re on a well) and no access to the road, many people on our road are on their way home from work. That’s a lonely wait on the far side of the firetrucks, and this one looks like its going to be at least all night. The power lines run close to the houses, the road was built after the homes were and the designation of the road was never updated. The roadside is still our backyards, the riverside is our front and the levee is the main road although it is gated on each end. With no way to get around the activity, people will wait, but everyone also wants to help in anyway possible.

I have been involved in numerous fires, airplanes, boats, barns, industrial buildings, and house fires, I’m not a firefighter and never have been one. All of them with exception of the house fires were places of my employment, and all of them were in the middle of nowhere. Six years ago three of my neighbors homes burned down, almost to the day, my house was saved because the prevailing wind was absent. Instead of it we had the storm wind from the South which caused the neighbor to the north to ignite. If the wind was blowing in it’s usual pattern my house would have been destroyed.

At that time our dear neighbor called at 2 am telling us to get out of dodge, when I looked out the window all I could see was a 100 foot flame. Waking the household we all went out to do whatever we could. Mostly it was in the form of shoes, clothing, jackets, and blankets as it was cool that early morning. My neighbor was in her nightgown with flip flops on her feet and in her hand was a garden hose. She ran up to her home with the water spraying until she reached a big scotch pine between the towering flames and her house which was smoking and getting ready to burst into flames. My concern was if that Scotch Pine were to blow up in flames she would be killed. Luckily the fire department showed up and dragged her off of the porch, they preceded attempting to save the third house which was a total loss.

Two were complete loses, the third next door to me had one side destroyed not by fire but by the heat. The second home has not been rebuilt yet, however we did recieve a notice that permits have been drawn to replace it. For some reason that house was caught up in litagation for all of that time, I checked on it regularily to make sure squatters didn’t settle in. Normally it takes 2 years to replace a house after a fire, but now as I understand it the insurers are sticklers and don’t always replace them with exact copies, how that works I don’t know.

I don’t have any more words for this disaster except to say a few prayers of thanks that no one was seriously injured or worse. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog, be safe, stay alert. Thanks again.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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