Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fire in Apartment 1101

Now that I’m clean, my feet no longer look like a true tar heel and I don’t reek of smoke....Let me tell you about my night. 
Last night I was supposed to head to charlotte so I could spend today at Carrowinds with my sister.  For some reason I decided not to go last night.  I had no real excuse I just didn’t feel like driving so I planned to wake early this morning and drive up.   I ate dinner (cottage cheese and cold pasta) around 9pm and then cleaned the kitchen.  I took apart the burners and really scrubbed the stove because it had gotten really messy during the week.  I didn’t bother replacing the burners because I wanted everything to dry out.  I locked the door but not the top latch as my roommate said she’d be out late with friends and then went to bed.
At around 1:30am I woke to the sound of the smoke detector going off.  At first I didn’t think much of it because it’s pretty sensitive and goes off often when we cook.  I got out of bed to see if she needed help shutting it off, I was tired and just wanted to get back to sleep as I was going to be getting up in a few hours to drive to Charlotte.  However, when I opened my door I felt heat and saw nothing but black smoke and bright orange light coming from the kitchen which is located right next to my bedroom.  I panicked. I couldn’t think and didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t tell if the fire started in my apartment, I couldn’t see exactly where it was and I didn’t know if my roommate was home.  Talk about being scared...it was the most scared I’ve been in my entire life.  I went back into my room ran in a few circles grabbed my phone and ran out of the apartment.
I immediately called 911, I had difficulty telling the operator where I lived.  I guess I was in shock because after I finally got out the address he asked me which apartment and all I could come up with was “the one that’s on fire!”  I finally was able to provide my apartment number and asked them to hurry.  I then called my mom asked her not to panic that my apartment was on fire but I was ok...don’t tell your parents this...they just ask too many questions you don’t have the answers to haha.  I told her I had to go, I couldn’t think.  I was the first one out of the building and it felt like forever before everyone else started emerging from their apartments. I stood out in the rain in my night shirt and just prayed as hard as I could.  I was so anxious to see everyone get out safely.  I still didn’t know where my roommate was...I tried calling her name and her phone, no answer.
The fire department responded probably within 10 minutes they went in and pulled my roommate from her room.  Can you believe she slept through the whole thing?!  Thank God I was there to call 911.  Evidently when my roommate got home she cooked some chicken tenders and French fries.  When the chicken was done the fries were still a little soggy so she went to her room to eat the chicken while the fries cooked a little longer and fell asleep.  The fries were left cooking on the stove and caught fire.  The firefighters said the sprinkler system kept the fire from spreading from the kitchen and had the fire practically out when they got there.  Thank you Lord for sprinklers.  The chief said that system probably saved our lives.
Last night for the first time I felt Jesus holding me.  I knew He was there and He was going to make sure I stayed safe.  I felt His comfort.  The firefighters said that out of all of the buildings in my entire apartment complex my building is the only one with a sprinkler system.  That’s because 10 years ago there was a similar fire and someone died.  As a result all new buildings being built or remodeled were mandated to have a sprinkler system.  Because my building had to be rebuilt because of the fire it now has sprinklers.  Is it luck that I live in the ONLY building on property with a sprinkler system?  No that was Jesus watching over me.  I can’t help but think what would have happened if I would have went to Charlotte last night...would my roommate still be here?  The fire would have probably still been put out by the sprinklers but would she have suffocated from smoke in her sleep?  I think I unintentionally heard a whisper from God to stay home last night.   I didn't save anyone but He did.  I’m so glad everyone is ok and everything destroyed can be replaced.  I may be a little homeless right now but my situation is only temporary.  I’m in a nice hotel right now and the management of my apartment complex are great and are working on finding me a new place to live.  I’m very grateful and feel more than blessed today :)
My roommate and I don't always see eye to eye but I still care about her.  She struggles with more than what an average 18 year old should.  Maybe this was God’s way of intervening in her life..He has a plan for everyone.  Around 4am we were able to get in the apartment to grab some things...I could tell my roommate was really upset.  I gave her a hug and told her it’s going to be ok..I’m not mad.  It was an accident and we’ll get through this.  I think she started to feel a little better.  As we hugged bye for the night I said “Hey” she said “yea?”....I looked at her and smiled “I think your fries are done.”  After all that happened we ended our terrifying night with a smile.
Thank you for all of your phone calls, texts and prayers.  They are appreciated.  And thank you to the Chapel Hill Fire and Police department,  I don’t know what I’d do without you.  And thank you Chapel View Apartment management for trying to accommodate me the best you can during this time.
God is more than Good, He is Awesome!

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