There’s a Fire in Those Hills

Yes. There really is a fire in those hills.  I was at my uncle‘s house today, swimming in the pool, as usual.  I had already done my 30 laps and I was just relaxing.  One of our daughters and her boyfriend were going to come over for a little while, so I was using the last 5 minutes of quiet to my advantage.

Just about that time, with my eyes closed, I heard a “pop” and then a “whoosh” sound.  The house sits right above the freeway, and there are lots of bushes and trees in between, and this didn’t sound like a freeway sound.  I thought that it was weird, so I turned my head.  To my great horror and dismay, I saw a billowing smoke towering overhead about 30 feet or so.  Then, the fire was next, shooting flames up into the air about 25 feet.  I screamed and then wrestled my way out of the pool.  I had my floating mesh chair and a swim noodle, as well as all my other gear – towel, purse, bag, etc. – to gather up and run off with.  This was not a pretty sight.

I grabbed my phone and my engagement/wedding rings (I had taken them off to swim), and I dialed 9-1-1.  I hit the green button twice before the call went through, and by that time, the flames had spread another 5 feet closer to the house.

The yard is pretty deep, with the pool in between.  It has been really dry here, though, and the fire was eating up the hillside like a 15-year old boy eats through a bag of chips.  The fire was headed my way, and if I didn’t do something quickly, it was going to be bad.

The 9-1-1 operator said she would send someone, after I calmed down enough to relay the address (thankfully, I remembered it!), and then I called my husband to tell him to let our daughter know not to come over.  What’s funny about remembering the address is that just yesterday, on my way home from over there,  I noticed a house for sale on the street.  I noticed the number – like 920 – and I remembered my uncle’s house number – 1000 something.  I wonder today if I hadn’t remember it yesterday if I would have known it well enough when I called 9-1-1.

I ran next door to tell the neighbor, in my swimsuit for goodness’ sake, as I couldn’t find my shorts.  I told him who I was, even though I had met him years earlier, I’m sure my bedraggled sight didn’t give him any clues as to my identity.  I then called my husband back to let him know to call my daughter, and then I called my uncle.  Getting no answer, I called his wife.  Still no answer, I called his daughter and she called him.  The other neighbor moved her car into my uncle’s driveway, since it was on the side of the house with no fire and the neighbor’s house was closest to the fire.  She thanked me later, hugging me and telling me that she was surely glad that someone was over at my uncle’s house.  It felt good to be a somewhat hero.

Anyway, the 9-1-1 operator sent the fire trucks and the (hot, let’s be honest) firemen.  Three trucks, two police cars, and a chief truck later, we had the fire under control. I was all sooty, and the pool had lots of soot flakes in it, too.  There was even some soot in the front yard.  My clothes and my hair definitely smelled like smoke.  It was like being at a campfire without actually being at a campfire.  It was scary enough for me to know that I hope I never get any closer to a raging fire, for sure.

I added another 30 minutes of exercise to my food diary, because I think that all the excitement surely caused me to burn off some additional calories!

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