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What do you do when Evac Order Says "NOW"? Tale of fleeing a fire.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

We'd been smelling smoke for weeks from various far-off fires in Colorado. Some of it very heavy!

At 2:30 Saturday 17th, we received a message to immediately evacuate the house due to immediate fire danger. What we didn't know at the time was that NEW fire had sprung up nearby and was spreading VERY rapidly. Deputies showed up at 3 to make sure that we were gone. So we had 30 minutes to gather the essentials of our lives..... I was upstairs and didn't know they'd come. DD and MM left and I didn't know that for awhile either. But I stayed until 4:30 gathering what I could and throwing it into my car..... I fled about 10 minutes after I saw flames (what I judged to be slowly) approaching our house on the back of our property. I did also see an incredibly dense black, large cloud of smoke immediately to the north of our house. I never saw any fire fighting efforts, but there were plenty of police on the roads out preventing people from returning home. I stopped and told each one that there was fire on my property so that someone might tell the firefighters......

I LATER learned that I was the only one in our house that figured an emergency order of immediate evacuation meant that our house was in DIRE danger -- and so I gathered enough clothes and personals for a week [bras but no panties -- weird!, my best purses because I could stuff them full as I went through the house, pix and mementos, white chocolate bars -- of all things! -- was important enough to make the cut, completely forget my toiletry travel bag but did stop to deposit in my purses my most expensive skin-care, got my valuable jewelry and pix and whatever else I felt had value, or meaning -- and was small enough and sturdy enough to transport without packing -- and that I knew its location! But I knew I couldn't find my important papers/documents fast enough.... and despite knowing a cold front was coming I completely forgot to bring warm outerwear. But since there was still lots of room in the very very last minutes, I shoved into the back seat a large framed signed art print and a large item of unique home decor.] You just can't think fast enough under that kind of pressure! Hubby and DD had gathered a few clothes for a couple days and a few things important to them and didn't worry about the house REALLY burning down so they left when the deputies showed up. I called them a couple times to ask what they left behind and really wanted, but all they said was "LEAVE NOW!" and I didn't really know what each of them valued most and that I could gather; so mostly it was just MY stuff that I took. I don't have a clue as to how to move my computer -- it isn't a laptop that I can just grab and go..... I attached the hoses to the outdoor faucets and turned on the water and left. I couldn't remember FOR SURE whether I left the garage door up or down. Most likely down.

So I've been out-of touch as we sheltered in a hotel room for a week and Hubby went almost crazy with anxiety. He dealt with it by trying to stay on top of any possible info about the fire, while I of course had already given up the house as a total loss since I had seen the flames approach with no one to fight it. Stressful, but also -- shamefully emoticon , I also secretly felt a small measure of relief that everything was gone and I wouldn't have to deal with divvying up the property in the divorce..... Mixed feelings.... Outwardly, I think I was very calm.

We came back yesterday (Saturday). Our house is UNTOUCHED by fire. The firefighters had a plane drop a wide strip of red slurry across our property and our neighbors'... and that is where the flames stopped -- about 50 yards away from the house. More -- it looks like it was a grass fire on our property -- fueled only by low-lying grass and shrubs and debris; the trees look like they will survive. Firefighters don't bother to defend indefensible properties -- our annual efforts to limb up trees and remove larger debris MADE A DIFFERENCE and our property and our immediate neighbors homes got defended by slurry!!! The entire neighborhood immediately next to ours, only TWO houses away from mine, was burnt to the ground. Completely destroyed. Nothing salvageable even.

Suddenly I am in tears for the first time and I don't know why....

Hubby went home Friday to see what he could see and do what he could do. We'd discussed it beforehand and I expected him to come back to the hotel. He got the house up and running before today's (Sunday) snow (we feared frozen pipe and burst pipes flooding the house and ruining anything salvageable, etc.) because we had no power..... I know this is a confused report...
And then he called demanding that I speak to the hotel management and cancel our remaining reservations and get "credit" for Friday (despite it being almost 5 p.m.!), and pack up his and our stuff and return to what I knew would be a freezing cold home, and I'd already started a big pot of soup for dinner (we had a kitchenette in our room).... and I said NO and he got angry. So what. He stayed THERE and DD and I (and parrot Ginger!) stayed in our nice warm hotel room, with a nice warm dinner....

So DD and I spent a relaxed evening and a somewhat rushed morning by ourselves -- and got home by noon Saturday. I overheard Hubby telling DD in my presence (of course, so that I WOULD overhear) that his plans for the day were for us (that means DD and I) to vacuum ALL surfaces - even walls -- to hopefully get rid of the smoky smell. And then for some "mysterious" (yeah, sure, "mysterious"!) reason I got incredibly sore and tired and achy throughout my entire body. It was an effort to even walk. For real though! For real.

Yet I was amused too emoticon that Hubby was still trying to control what and when *I* would do something, despite asking me for a divorce. Some things are hard to change, I guess! Now, after a week of utter boredom and the "rest" of doing nothing in a hotel room, I was home and I weirdly yet DESPERATELY needed to relax and rest. I figured that it was accumulated stress that had my body hurting so much -- and since what Hubby wanted was something that NEEDS to be done and it was just that his timing was bad -- I respectfully and gently told him that, and that I'd try to do it tomorrow (which is today Sunday) but it just wasn't going to happen immediately! Surprisingly, he responded well to having his wishes thwarted once again.

I slept well last night; and I feel much better today. It is now 2:00 and I need to get started on cleaning the house, which we literally tore apart a week ago as we rushed to gather things and leave ASAP. SO... there are a zillion and more things to do and I must begin. This is why I tried here to give a complete report (however confused) in the time I had.

OH! Yes, despite everything, having a home to come back to makes it a GREAT weekend!
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