Friday, July 2, 2010


Yesterday I was at my house packing up all of my stuff because we are moving. We spent ALL day cleaning and packing and hanging out and around 10:00 PM Rachel Atwood, my friend, called her husband Blake to see if he would come help her get their two boys loaded up and to go back home. The boys were sleeping and Blake was exhausted and so was she, so I invited them to spend the night since Michael was out of town.

I ran to the store and grabbed us some quick food to eat, and then came back and we started cooking it in the microwave. We sat down in my bedroom and started to eat some of it while the rest was cooking, and then my light started flickering. After the fifth flicker, we smelled smoke. So we ran into the kitchen, and it was filled with smoke. We thought it was from the microwave, so she grabbed a broom and started to fan it to clear up the smoke. But that didn't really work. I decided to open the back door and asked Rachel to open the front door to fan circulate some air, but when she opened the front door she yelled to me, "Carissa, there is a tons of black smoke caming in the apartment!". (we live on the upstairs floor of a small four house apartment and the access to each apartment is inside a stairway, so we couldn't just open the door and be outside).

We grabbed the three sleeping babies, and tried to go through the back door, but it was somehow blocked and we couldn't get through it. I broke the screen door because all of a sudden it was difficult to open. I ran into something and couldn't get out. There backway is usually always cleared out so I couldn't figure out what was blocking us but by that time it was so smokey it was getting difficult to see and breathe. It was evident we were trapped so we ran to my bedroom with three screaming babies, and at this point we were all breathing in smoke pretty heavily. My bedroom had the least amount of smoke, so we went in there and shut the door. Rachel called 911 and then we tried to get the window open. I'm pretty sure it was painted shut, but we were able to get it open. The firemen came and were able to put a ladder up to the window and helped us all down. The fireman came and I was told I needed to unlock the front door. Even though it scared me to death, I crawled to the front door and made sure it was unloocked. They told me not to open it so I crawled back into the bedroom and shut the door. When the fireman came in, it was so dark and smokey that they couldn't find their way. By then it was getting difficult to breath and I could feel the heat. They firemen put up a ladder next to our bedroom window and one by one they loaded us down beginning with babies to Rachel and me. Once my feet hit the ground, I was overwhelmed with relief that we were all safe. They firemen continued to work on the fire and kept asking me if anyone else lived up there and if I knew they were home. I told them I had a neighor named Daniel living across the way. Eventually the firemen had to saw a huge hole out of the roof. After the fire was incontrol, they let me go out to get some valuables and to check things out. I wanted to figure out why we couldn't get out the back way. Usually the screen door is so easy to open and we have clear access to the outside but this time the screen was difficult to open and there was a storage unit door blocking our way but I couldn't see cause of the smoke. The fireman said it was a good thing we didn't go out that way because futher down it was up in flames. I know that my Heavenly Father was protecting us that day and guided us into safety.

It was pretty tramatic. The man across the hallway, Daniel, died. The fire started in his apartment and we're pretty sure he was drunk. We saw him bring a big case of beer up to his apartment a few hours earlier. They think either he passed out drunk and left something on the stove or that his cigerettes caught something on fire. The fire never made it into my apartment, but there is tons of smoke damage.

It was actually really lucky that Rachel was there, because I would have gone to bed if she had left. Plus rachel had her phone with her so we could call 911 immediately. Our smoke detector didnt go off until after the firemen were there which would have made it a lot worse.

The firemen told Blake that in situations like this, it's not typical to have live rescues. I guess the fire was pretty bad.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you all know, since I'm still kind of in shock. The end.


Aub said...

holy cow! what a story! I am so glad you are all safe and nothing happened to you!

Julie Brown, RN, BSN, CDE said...

We are so thankful that you, Kalai, Rachel, Josh and Ezra are OK. We love you!

Mary said...

I am so glad you are safe! Please let me know if I can do anything to help.
-Mary Duffy

Natalie said...

Oh Carissa!!! I am so sorry...that is one of the scariest things I could ever imagine. I am so glad that you are safe. How is your stuff??? Do you need anything? I am just so glad you guys are safe.

puwho said...

Carissa, this is horrifying. As a mom, I can relate to what this would have been like with my children - and as a mom, I can also relate to what it would be like if it happened to one of my kids (and grandchild). I'm so very glad that Heavenly Father blocked your way so you didn't stumble into disaster.

I'm sad for your neighbor & his loved ones. Such a sad end to what sounds like a sad life.

Take care, kiddo.

Mallory Stoker said...

Oh Carissa! That is so scary, reading it made me cry a little because I can imagine how stressed and scared you must have been. I am so glad that everyone was okay. If there is anything I can do for you let me know. I can be a good listener if you want to talk.

Rachael said...

I can't believe this! I am so so thankful you, Rachel and the babies are okay. Please let me know what Michael and I can do to help.
Rachael Dollins

Meagan said...

That is insane. I am so glad that you are all okay. Did most of your things survive alright? Wow.

~Stappsters~ said...

Wow. What a horrible experience Carissa! We are so happy you are all safe.