Okay. Here we go. I don’t even know where to start. I’ve honestly been avoiding looking at my Instagram feed. It’s heartbreaking to me. I had to earlier for insurance. Lucky for us I have everything documented for when we rebuild. But having it documented on a social media platform just shows how important and special this home was to us, and it’s just so heartbreaking. I have so many things to say and write. I just can’t get the right words to come out. The adequate words. I’m so thankful my kids are safe with us. I’m so very grateful. There are so many silver linings in this nightmare, one example being the fact the everyone’s closets are intact. The clothes just need a good washing to get the smoke out. We are safe. So many pieces of our favorite things are salvageable. I could go on.
The fire started on the front corner of our third car garage, and went up into the attic, which spread across the whole top of the house. The investigators determined it to be electrical. They could not determine if it was the outside wall plug, or the electrical box itself. Luckily only the upper half of the home actually burned. The rest of the damage is severe water damage from the fire hoses and then of course smoke damage. The insulation has drowned the home out and the sheetrock has fallen all over. We will be rebuilding this house from the studs up. That is the plan anyway.
From the farm camera we can tell from reflection that the fire started around 11:10pm. We were all asleep. Which we never are that early, like NEVER, but it was a school night, and we were tired from the weekend. I vividly remember things from that night. I remember looking at my phone, laying in bed. It was 10:24 and I was scrolling one of my favorite sites, Very Jane. I was regretting not cleaning up dinner, but I was so tired and told myself that I would do it the next day. Mondays are when I do heavy cleaning. So I plugged my phone in, took my glasses off, and went to sleep.
Joey woke up to a very loud popping noise around 11:35. (Which happened to be electrical pops) Looked out the window and saw the glow. Our bedroom is behind the garage. He woke me up and yelled fire and told me to get the kids out of the house. I woke up and immediately panicked. My heart dropped and I freaked out. I hopped up, put my glasses on, luckily was actually wearing pajamas, and opened the garage man door and saw the flames. I remember saying “OH SHIT!” I also remember so vividly breathing in and my throat burning from smoke. When I opened the door it let the smoke in the house which immediately turned on the fire alarms. Which I knew would scare the kids to death so I ran down the hall, went in the boys’ room, yelled for Brixton to get Harvey out of his crib and to run outside, that there was a fire. I remember barely being able to get the words out, I was in shambles. Almost mid panic attack where you can’t quite find the breath? It’s hard to explain. But I just know I struggled getting the words out to them. I ran to the girls room and did the same. While also calling 911. I remember barely being able to call because my hands were shaking SO BAD. I. Could barely tap the numbers. And I also remember quietly telling myself to breathe and calm down. While this was happening, Joey had tried to hose the fire down, but quickly realized it was electrical and he wasn’t going to be able to do much, he then took charge of pulling the car out of the garage, and his motorcycle, and Brixton’s dirt bike. I’m so so glad he pulled the car out!
I want to note that I made a major mom mistake. Makes me sick to even type, but when I ran outside with the kids while simultaneously trying to calm the kids down (they were so scared, so so scared) AND calling 911, I didn’t even realize we were missing Monroe. I made the mistake of assuming that she ran out along with us, and she didn’t. She took a minute to wake up. and actually ran to my room to find me, and it was dark because we had no power, and then somehow knew to run out the front door. I’m sure it was 10 seconds behind us. But that still haunts me. I feel awful. All of my kids were so scared. All that haunts me the most. Just remembering my kids’ unknowing what was going to happen and their scared faces and cries. Looking to me for direction. Just how scared they were and I was just panicking and on the phone with 911 instead of taking time to stop and comfort them like I should have.
Once we were all outside we ran next door to the neighbors front lawn and waited. They were awake and had actually called 911 before I did. I remember asking the 911 operator numerous times if they were coming. We felt so helpless. And it just felt like time stood still. It took them about 10 minutes to get to our home because of the rural area we live in. Luckily, one of the silver lining blessings in all of this, we have a fire hydrant right outside our home. The fire fighters told us we wouldn’t have anything left if it wasn’t for that hydrant.
Here is where I don’t remember much. I know it took 3 hours for them to get the fire out. I remember watching them, praying and hoping. I remember looking at the house and saying, “it’s not that bad, it’s just the garage”, and literally two seconds later my porch caved in and at that moment I knew it was much worse. I think with my anxiety and panic and sheer chaos, I blocked out a lot. I do remember how amazing our neighbors were. Truly truly amazing. They got us clothes, and blankets, and rushed our kids off to their house, and set up beds and a movie for them so they could be away from what was happening. I remember my whole family staying with us until 3am when the fire finally stopped. Our other neighbor was rushing around with the firemen he knew and was helping out however he could. My bishop and his wife came over while they fought the fire, at 1am. That’s what I remember. The goodness and love and care we felt immediately and ever since has taken so much of the burden off. All the love and support getting us through this.
Our kids are our priority. I crave for them to feel some sort of normalcy. We are trying our best, and our neighbor’s and family have helped with that immensely.
At the time I’m writing this, I no longer have to go inside the home. It’s hard for me so I’m glad I don’t. But that first week, every time I’d take Harvey with me, he’d just want to go to his room. His room was not very damaged. He’d just sit and play with his legos and dinosaurs. It was comforting but also just so heartbreaking. I can’t even explain the emotion. You could shut his door for him and for a moment pretend this never happened. I just want to put his room in a box and save it for him.
It’s been hard, I won’t sugarcoat it. It’s our home. It’s our safe place. It’s where my kids were suppose to grow up. It’s where we worked so hard and have so many cherished memories. It was suppose to be our forever home. We built that home. Only three short years ago. It’s our normal. It’s just HOME. That’s the hardest part of all. I just wish I could make this nightmare end. I crave the house as it was, fully, and wholly just for my kids and their HOME. Their safe place. I know we will rebuild. I know we will get through this.
But right now I just want my home back.
As we navigate this trial, we will rise from the ashes and rebuild. I would love to work with you and have you be part of our journey and story! I am excitedly accepting new collaborations for the rebuild of our home. Building Barnwood Farmhouse 2.0 is the hope and joy keeping us going. Please reach out if you’d like to be part of the process.
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