Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Fire - Answering Some Questions

Dave's View as He Came Home

Mopping Up as the last, stubborn hotspots are put out.

  I wanted to put these pictures side by side but blogger is having none of it.

I apologize for leaving another story hanging. I thought I was going to have regular access to a computer. That turned out not to be as easy to accomplish as I'd thought. The truth is when you have a fire like this, whether its uninsured like this one or not, life has changed in more ways than just that roof over head. I find myself thinking as I sort through this chaos that's now my life, that even an insured homeowner would be dealing with the daily issues I find before me.  Before I resume the story about the fire I want to address the questions folks must have since the fire.

First off, the Red Cross was on the scene as the fire fighters were still mopping up. They provided uss with a debit card loaded with a small allotment for food, clothing and gas and they put us up for 4 nights in a motel in Puyallup that allows pets. Thankfully, the Red Cross understands the important role animals play for us humans in coping with life's tough issues so Red Cross contracts only with facilities that let the animals come along. Hopefully, I will get to posting regularly enough to tell the stories of some of those adventures in the motel room since Delilah is after all my annual open house , I hope he's right. I hate to see what the rent by the month will be.

When it comes to showers, we have to punt. We do have people who have told us we can shower at their homes but after this much time we don't want to be taking advantage and are unsure where that line is. Sponge baths are becoming my friend. With hot water in the motor home now, the shower in it is available (once we clear out the clothes hamper, garbage can, dogs' water bowls and the clothing hung there) but the water goes cold about the time I think the temperature is right so I try hard to get my hair washed and hope for the best. The cold water sends my pain through the roof.

The first days people stopped in to see what we needed and the truth of the fact was and is we need pretty much everything. I was so overwhelmed I didn't even know what to say. It is as hard to answer that question now as it was then because the list is so extensive.

We did get loads of clothing but the sizes and assortment leave big holes in our wardrobes. Funny thing that word, wardrobe, seems way too highfalutin for the barn clothes we need most. Then it was cold when the fire struck, now it's hot. Dave and Lindsay made a trip to Goodwell over the weekend and couldn't find a thing that would work for any of us. We're digging through the clothing we've been given to find the coolest clothes we can that will still protect our arms and legs from the hay since we all seem to be allergic, not to mention how those ends can get under the skin as bad as any wood or glass sliver ever could.

We have had a couple of different parties who have done our laundry. There is no laundromat in Graham and I am still trying to locate the nearest to our location because I feel like I am taking advantage of these women's generosisty. Some things I can wash by hand but the sinks in a vehicle like this were never intended for such use. Dave's lost a lot of weight but even his trim size 34" jeans are too big for what I have available for washing.

I think I've covered the most obvious questions . If not, let me know in the comments and I'll try to cover things as I try and write this story of the effect of this fire of my family and my horses. Before I do that, there is one more thing I want to mention.

Because Dave allowed our homeowner's insurance to lapse, the mortgage company put what the industry refers to forced-placed insurance on our mobile home. I learned of this dilema a while ago, not long enough to have fixed it, unfortunately. Now that we are actually dealing with a loss insured by such coverage, I am learning far more than I ever wanted to know about the mortgage, mortgage servicing and forced-placed insurance industries. At this point I could do many blog posts on the subject but for now I will just say this. I always thought such insurance would at least replace the building that it supposedly covered but forced-placed insurance really doesn't cover a building, it covers a mortgage and only in the amount of the outstanding balance on that mortgage. In our situation where we are somewhere around 20 years into this mortgage, the amount of funds available to rebuild is far less than what it will cost to do so. The fundraising we are doing is falling way short of what we actually need

Even now, I am still trying to figure out what the next step is.....and just when I think I do have it figured out....something else changes.

Thank you to those who have donated to our go fund me account http://www.gofundme.com/rebuildingourhome or to the savings account at Chase Bank, South Hill Fred Meyer Branch by requesting the David Caillier rebuildingourhome account. The advantage of the account is they don't take out fees like Go Fund Me does. Either way, any and all donations are appreciated.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Fire - In Lindsay's Words Part 2

Part 1

Upon seeing the smoke and flames in the mudroom, Lindsay immediately put her blanket over her head covering her face. Then she grabbed the dogs' leashes and hooked Sugar up but Delilah had other ideas. She was frightened by the smoke and the blaring smoke alarm so she retreated to the very back of her crate. Lindsay actually had to crawl into the crate and pull Delilah out.

Lindsay is not 100 pounds soaking wet and I'm pretty sure that Delilah is at least 65 pounds if not more. How petite little Lindsay managed to drag a frightened Delilah out is beyond me but she did. Thankfully once the Siberian Husky was no longer in what she believed to be a safe place, she began listening to Lindsay and there were no more issues with obedience as the three exited the burning house.

Once outside, Lindsay stopped on the front sidewalk to make the call to 911. Before she could even dial those three numbers, smoke enveloped her so she began to run, not stopping until she hit the front gate. There she only stopped long enough to throw the gates open continuing on to the street before trying again to make her call.

 She dialed 911 as we had practiced but our practicing had been flawed. We had not taken into account the extensive hearing loss that has happened over the past few years. Lindsay normally only uses her phone to text because she can't hear well enough to talk with anyone. Now she was on the phone with 911 only hearing well enough to distinguish they were talking to her but she could tell what it was they were saying.

By this time curious drivers were stopping on the road to watch the burning mobile home. Unable to distinguish what the 911 operator was saying Lindsay walked up to a driver who had his window down telling him, "My house is on fire. I have 911 on the phone but I am partially deaf...."

To be continued............

Some folks have asked if we have a donation account aside from this one at go fund me http://www.gofundme.com/rebuildingourhome  The answer to that question is "Yes." There is a savings account at Chase Bank, South Hill Fred Meyer Branch. Those who would rather donate through it, can do so by requesting the David Caillier rebuildingourhome account. The advantage of that account is they don't take out fees like Go
 Fund Me does.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Fire - In Lindsay's Words.......

To be honest,  I don't really remember clearly what happened when I got to Lindsay's location next to the mailbox lastn Thursday afternoon so I have asked her to tell me what happened that fateful day. Because of Lindsay's traumatic brain injury (due to her treatment for brain cancer when she was a child) it is common for it to take days, weeks and sometimes even years before all the pieces of an incident come together so it was no surprise to me that her telling this evening had much more detail than it had on the day the house burned.

Lindsay had been taking her lunch break at the usual time, sitting in the living room watching the television.  She was wearing her typical stall cleaning attire (old grubby, sweats) and the sheepskin slippers she'd received for Christmas the year I'd worked for Fred Meyer. She said she felt cold so she decided to retrieve her favorite fleece blanket from her room before General Hospital got started. That made the time somwhere just before 1 PM.

She described the air as being somehow misty or something as she made her way down the hall. It didn't smell like smoke yet but it was somehow just odd, heavy maybe,...odd enough for her to notice but not enough for her to be alarmed yet. 

At some point in her journey down the hall, Lindsay heard what she described as a shot. There was no sound from the smoke alarm so she thought she was safe. Her first thoughts were that loud sound was the neighbors shooting guns again so it didn't dissuade her from continuing her mission. 

She grabbed the golden blanket covered with horses wrapping, it around herself making her way back to the living room to watch the soap opera. It was when the lights flickered that Lindsay knew she needed to get herself out of the house. Still there was no sound from the smoke alarm, there had only been that funny feeling air, the unidentified explosion, and now those flickering lights.

Being right by the mud room door, she decided she would grab her boots before she made her way outside. Only when she opened that door, did she know what she was facing. Thick black smoke spewed from the furnace and flames liked at her boots. Only then did the smoke alarm sound.

To be continued.............

Some folks have asked if we have a donation account aside from this one at go fund me http://www.gofundme.com/rebuildingourhome  The answer to that question is "Yes." There is a savings account at Chase Bank, South Hill Fred Meyer Branch. Those who would rather donate through it, can do so by requesting the David Caillier rebuildingourhome account. The advantage of that account is they don't take out fees like Go
 Fund Me does.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Fire - How the Day Began

I had a physical therapy appointment at noon last Thursday. The office is about 4 miles from our farm so it only takes about 10 minutes to get there. I left the house with just that much time left before noon. I really don't like leaving Lindsay home alone so I try to make sure I am gone no longer than necessary.

A couple of items  had sold from my eBay store overnight, so I'd packaged those and took them with me. I hate having those things hanging over my head so so I planned to kill two birds and drop them off at the post office on my way home.

At the end of my appointment the therapist decided I should have some time with heat packs on my abdomen. When  she brought them in, she told me to lay there as long as I liked, she needed to move on to her next patient.

I doubt I laid there for even a minute. I looked at the time and decided I rather get home to Lindsay than lay there. I did drop my packages off  at USPS. Since I'd purchased my postage online, I bypassed the line leaving them on the counter. My little side trip took all of 2 minutes.

As I came over the top of Graham Hill, I could see the smoke. I knew immediately from the color of it, something was burning that shouldn't be. That road is flanked by lots of fir trees and other Pacific Northwest greenery so you can't see my farm from it until you actually turn the corner onto 288th. Still I hit a point in the road that I could see the smoke crossing the highway. It was heading across Meridian like it was some kind of freight train running from the west to the east side of my road.

My heart began to race since there were few options to the source of the horrible smoke. I tried to convince myself it could be the neighbors on the corner or maybe even farther down the road, but something told me it was my farm that was going up in flames.

Even as I turned the corner and saw the maze of emergency vehicles stretching from one end of the road in front of my farm to the other, and even spilling over onto that of the neighbors' on both sides, I tried to tell myself it could be a wreck with a car on fire or something..........anything but it couldn't be my place. My daughter was there, home alone.

The denial was brief as my brain flicked through possibilities as fast as any computer. My eyes darted for a place to park the car because there was no way I was getting any closer on foot.

I struggled getting the car's transmission into park. Then the key didn't want to come out of the transmission. It felt like my feet were running before they even hit the ground. I stumbled but willed myself to my feet even though my knees were trembling and my mind racing. I was searching for someone who might have answers before I was even stable on my feet.

I ran to the nearest fireman asking if my daughter was OK. He asked if I was the home owner and when I confirmed I was, he told me a young woman had escaped with her 2 dogs. She was up by the mailbox as we spoke.

There were so many rigs and so much smoke, I couldn't even see Lindsay but knowing she was safe allowed me to stop running so I could reach her without falling. It had been a gruesome physical therapy appointment and it was nearing time fro my next dose of pain medication,this new stress was already taking its toll but no way was I going to allow myself to fall.

I found Lindsay standing right where the fireman had said. She had a death grip on the leashes of both frightened dogs, despite the fact passers-by had offered to help her with them. My daughter was taking no chances she might lose anything else that she loved. Even as I reached her, she would not relinquish either one of them.

To be continued............

The Fire - In Lindsay''s Words

Some folks have asked if we have a donation account aside from this one at go fund me http://www.gofundme.com/rebuildingourhome  The answer to that question is "Yes." There is a savings account at Chase Bank, South Hill Fred Meyer Branch. Those who would rather donate through it, can do so by requesting the David Caillier rebuildingourhome account. The advantage of that account is they don't take out fees like Go
 Fund Me does.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Early Fire

Early Fire Picture

Too exhausted to write but finally figured out how to retrieve this picture. It was taken by Sara Lamrouex who is now co-ordinating relief  efforts on our behalf.

I will try to post at least pictures daily and details as I can.

I would like to thank the four young women who came today to help Lindsay with  the stall work. There  is so much to do related to this fire, the added help allowed her time to let down a little and recoup.

Donation account  at www.gofundme.com/rebuildingourhome