Editor’s Note: We love to share stories from local moms like you. Today, Courtney is sharing her story. Courtney lives with her husband, Jake, and four kids in Geneseo.
As parents we are aware accidents are a part of everyday life.
From something as simple as spilled milk to accidents beyond repair. Either way, we try to prepare our children to handle those situations the best way we know how.
On Friday, September 15, we experienced a true nightmare.
It was a busy day – as it usually is as a mom of four young children. School was out early for homecoming festivities and we headed home before heading to the parade. Two minutes after returning home, fire sirens were echoing around town.
Not because the parade was starting early, but because our house was on fire.
One of many events of “what ifs” that play out in my mom mind was actually happening.
Let’s back up. Our world was turned upside down in only a few minutes.
We got home and I set down the groceries and the toddler that loaded my arms.
Just 20 seconds after my 3, 5 and 7-year-old kids ran upstairs to their bedrooms, I heard ear piercing screams. Within seconds, all three came barreling through the kitchen on our main level.
My oldest led the way out the back door to our backyard with her brother and sister on her tail. As she came through she said there was smoke coming from her room. I sprinted around the corner and up the steps to investigate. I took mental note that my three oldest were outside and my youngest was unaccounted for.
Panic began to set in as I rounded the corner to my oldest daughter’s bedroom and saw the fire engulfing the dresser in her room. Smoke already filled the room and alarms were sounding. (Side note: They weren’t as loud as I remember them being when it chirps for a dead battery.)
I needed to be sure my toddler didn’t follow his siblings upstairs. Once I was sure he wasn’t up there, I asked myself two questions:
- Can I put this fire out?
- Do I need anything now?
The answer to both of those questions was NO. But I still needed the most important thing, my toddler (who was standing in my living room the whole time).
When I rushed downstairs, I saw him staring at me (probably wondering why I was screaming his name like a crazy person). As I grabbed him, I spotted my keys, phone and our family dog and flew out the back door.
My other three children were watching anxiously on the swing set for us to exit the house and I dialed 911. My voice trembled as I told the woman on the other line our house was on fire. Within a few minutes, my husband arrived as the police and fire trucks made their way to our home.
Unfortunately, we had front row seats to the terror unfolding.
My daughter watched as her bedroom went up in flames and her torched belongings were thrown out the window. The tears of my children ripped me apart as I had to explain to my them that everything could be replaced but my beautiful children could not be. Everything we needed was right here.
What seemed like an eternity passed and we were allowed to see the damage.
- 3 of 4 bedrooms lost.
- Extensive water damage from the work putting out the fire.
- Obvious smoke damage throughout the home.
While we will be out of the house for approximately three months, we are thankful for everything that did come out of the horrible situation.
Our family is safe, we have a place to stay while our home is being restored and we have the most amazing support system we could ever ask for.
And my 7-year-old daughter is the true hero.
She knew what to do thanks to the practice at school and at home. She did all the right things and saved our lives.
Everyone who has helped us through the process so far has been amazing – from our volunteer fire department, to our local insurance company, restoration services, and friends at the bank guiding us through this stressful process.
And we are most thankful to God who was watching over our family during this time.
Wondering what you can do to prepare your family for the worst?
Take the 5 minutes it takes and go over fire safety with your children. Be thankful to the schools and fire department who take the time to do the same for our children.
This truly saved our lives and for that we are forever grateful.
I have my most important possessions – my family. We get to continue creating more memories that leave an impact on our heart, not on walls.