Yesterday morning, at about 2:00 AM, I felt James shaking me awake, and heard my brother in law, Wendel, frantically yelling, “Call the fire department! My house is on fire!”
My heart began pounding out of my chest when I took a quick peek out the door and saw his house with flames coming out of one window.
James ran out the door to help him, and I made the call. Then I quickly pulled on some coveralls (it was cold) and shoes and rushed next door. The first thing I saw was that the flame I had seen earlier in the window was gone. I felt relief! James and Wendel were pouring water into the window, seeming to be putting out whatever fire was left. Smoke was billowing out of the window like crazy. We all took turns holding the hose and pouring water in as we waited for the fire trucks to arrive.
It appeared at first that we had held off the fire, as only smoke was coming from the house, however, when I went to look around the side of the house, I saw that there was fire in the attic. I yelled, “The attic!!”, and pointed to the attic, and we watched it helplessly as it began to grow brighter and bigger, eventually pouring out of the attic window, a blazing inferno.
We heard sirens in the distance, and we ended up seeing 3 firetrucks and one ambulance pull into the driveway and firefighters hopped out and got to work.
They did their best to stave off the fire, but it eventually appeared to be out of control. There was nothing they could do.
After trying for a while, the firefighters continuously sprayed water on the house to contain it. It was so sad to see Wendel staring pitifully at what used to be his home. He told us that if his dog (Stormy) had not awakened him by acting frantic, he would have never known there was a fire at all. Thank God he had his dog!
We spent the next few hours just watching the house burn down little by little, and comforting Wendel, as he watched with tears brimming in his eyes.
It was surreal.
After it was nearly all down to the ground, I went back in, hoping to get some sleep. After a while, I posted this picture to my Facebook timeline, saying that Wendel would be needing help:
The response was OVERWHELMING. Only hours after the house had burned down, dozens upon dozens of people began pouring out their compassion and love to a man they had never before met. I was met by people who gave really nice clothing, toiletries, shoes, socks (he was so appreciative of the socks, as his feet had become very cold and muddy from standing in cold water with no shoes), jackets, a blow up mattress, blankets, pillows, money, and just everything you can think of – people were offering it and donating it freely.
I spent the majority of the day meeting these kind and generous people and collecting the items they were giving. And I received at least 30-40 emails from people who wanted to know how they could help, and who offered to give more things, that I will be collecting tomorrow. I think this was a wonderful thing to see how wonderfully caring people can be when bad things happen! I am so thankful for all of their help.
I am also very thankful for the volunteer firefighters efforts to extinguish the fire. I know they did everything they could for us!
I know that all things work together for the good, and eventually Wendel will have a new home that he can be proud of. In the meantime, he has a lot of good family and friends surrounding him to help him in this time of need. Please keep him in your prayers!
To those of you who helped, either by prayer, financially or by providing some necessity, THANK YOU.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:35-40
Update: I have created a gofundme.com page for anyone who wants to donate. Thank you!