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Our house burnt down

231 replies

baddayattheoffice · 09/06/2022 16:46

What would you pick up as you left your burning home?

Most people will never face the reality of their home burning down. We never expected to go through it, but if it can happen to us it could happen to anyone.


OP posts:

Minimalme · 09/06/2022 20:49

Our smoke alarms are wired in and went off at 2am one night.

I was really fucking stupid and shouted to dh to get up and pegged it downstairs looking for the fire.

My 8 year old woke up and followed me downstairs but my other 2 ds and dh just stayed in bed. Ds 14 said he had heard the alarm but was putting a T-shirt on incase he had to leave the house. DS12 is autistic and was paralysed by sheer terror.

I realised that by running down the stairs I could well have left my family to burn to death.

I'm still shocked I made such a poor choice.

I have now gone over the fire drill with sons and since dh didn't wake up, I will have to give him a thump on my way out!


waddlemyway · 09/06/2022 20:49

This has always been one of my greatest fears. (I got an A in Higher Grade English writing about it!!😂) I watched a close family friend’s business burn down in the dark when I was little and I think the images and the sadness must have stayed with me. (He had emptied the cigar ashtray into the bin and something must have still been warm. Classic error. If childhood memory serves, insurance didn’t pay that one, as it was his own fault.)
For my last big birthday I asked for a box for the family memories for this purpose. Unfortunately the purpose got lost in the request and my friends got me an enormous clump of a thing. I dare say I’ll be getting kids then cats (if possible) and that’ll it should the time ever come.

Lots of good advice for before, during and after on here… glasses! What a pain in the rear if you can’t see anything for days, you’d have so much to do as well. Medication. Keys at ground height as you’ll be crawling on the floor. Insurance. Videos for insurance purposes. Fire safes. All documents and photos really should be saved electronically.

I was very fortunate to be able to do a fire extinguishing course with work once. In the place where they train firefighters. It was so so valuable and I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. I learnt so much about how to react to what kind of fire. How to get out safely. And actually practiced it in a burning environment. (We were proper stinky afterwards 😂) The biggest takeaway was that every single house should have a fire blanket in the kitchen, and you should know how to use it. And preferably a fire extinguisher (definitely have a fire extinguisher if you have rooms with no safe exit, e.g. we now have two at the bottom of the stairs to our basement.)


Minimalme · 09/06/2022 20:51

I wouldn't save anything except people and dogs.

All medication can be replaced (and I say that as a parent of a child who is on three different types, one of which he would die within a couple of days without).


RoseHarper · 09/06/2022 20:55

I'd recommend taking photos of your home, just an overview of each room and save photos to the Cloud. Also photograph receipts. Never leave appliances on overnight or when out of the house. Check your insurance is adequate. I'm so sorry this has happened to you op, its devastating and a very difficult situation to be in.


PestoPasghetti · 09/06/2022 21:00

Simonjt · 09/06/2022 17:24

Assuming all the living things are out, my sons life story box. Nothing else is important and its the only thing that couldn’t be replaced.

Is he adopted? I think in that case I'd have detailed photos of everything in the box and store them on a memory stick in the glove box of the car, or in a relative's house, just as a backup. Of course it wouldn't be anything like having the real things in his hands but better than nothing left at all.

Of course, the chances of a house fire are negligible though.


AdoraBell · 09/06/2022 21:01

@ISeeTheLight I had that feeling during an earthquake. Couldn’t get the DC from their bedrooms while the house was moving though. That was bloody terrifying.


Mummumtum · 09/06/2022 21:05

I’m sorry about your home @baddayattheoffice

one thing I’ve often wondered, hope you don’t mind me asking- what happens if all your ID/paperwork is destroyed in this scenario?


PestoPasghetti · 09/06/2022 21:05

Although I did try to call 999 about 5 times; in my panic I kept dialling just 9 and it didn't go through (obviously).

Oh My God does anyone else have this dream? I'm CONSTANTLY dreaming about failed attempts to ring 999. Either I keep fluffing up the dialling, or it just rings and rings, or the dispatcher doesn't believe me, or when the police come it turns out they're bad guys in disguise... I've never even had to call 999 in real life so don't know what that's all about!


Toddlerteaplease · 09/06/2022 21:10

I'd grab my indoor cats and my phone. And car keys.


blue421 · 09/06/2022 21:10

I'm CONSTANTLY dreaming about failed attempts to ring 999. Either I keep fluffing up the dialling, or it just rings and rings, or the dispatcher doesn't believe me, or when the police come it turns out they're bad guys in disguise..

Yes, all the time. It's horrible.


Toddlerteaplease · 09/06/2022 21:14

@Bubblesandsqueak1 no, that's hugely inappropriate in front of someone who's just lost their home.


Natsku · 09/06/2022 21:15

And actually practiced it in a burning environment.

My local fire brigade (voluntary fire brigade I think) was doing that today. An apartment building in town was scheduled for demolition so they set it on fire so they could practice putting it out. Was amazing to see the photos of the damage even when the fire brigade were right there as it went alight, just a short time of burning can do so much damage.


Buttons0522 · 09/06/2022 21:17

Crikey OP, I’m so sorry.
I’m also astounded by the number of people on this thread who it has happened to! Am I just naive?!
I am ordering a fire blanket and checking the smoke alarms right away…
Thanks for all the advice!


thequeenoftarts · 09/06/2022 21:20

My car and house keys, phone and bag which live in the same place so I can move things into my car, grab the dogs, open a window or door for the cats to escape, then go move my car, shove the 2 dogs into it. My dad was a fireman so always drilled into us leave things in the same place to be found fast and have an escape route. I live in a bungalow thankfully so easy to get out of. Also one thing a lot of people dont think of is having a smoke alarm in the attic as flames and smoke go upwards and a smoke alarm in the attic will alert you very quickly to both... Glad you got out safe and sound, things can be replaced, you cant xx


momtoboys · 09/06/2022 21:25

My husband, any kids who happened to be home and my dogs (and I would try to remember my phone and pants).


janj2301 · 09/06/2022 21:26

One reason my husband keeps a backup disc in my office, changed every week, has photos and loads of legal and financial stuff on it. Cat would be the only thing I'd try and rescue she's semi feral and won't let me pick her up without hissing and clawing so she might have to get herself out the house


lurchermummy · 09/06/2022 21:37

I have all our family photos on the cloud plus important scanned documents. I wouldn't stop for any material thing but I would try and get the dogs out. Everything else is just stuff.


Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g · 09/06/2022 21:37

So sorry for everyone who has been through this. We haven't, but we knew a family who did have a very bad house fire. It took hold very fast and by the time they woke up it was impossible to get out by the stairs. They had to jump or be rescued by firefighters from the first floor windows. I thought of that when reading on this thread of people who plan to leave everything near the front door. If you're in a two or more storey house that might not be the best plan.

Also, I worry about people who leave the dishwasher or washing machine running while they're asleep or out. I believe the Fire Brigade recommends you only have them running while you're in. I would second that after seeing smoke come out of our (old) dishwasher shortly after it started running. I've said this before on threads and people have replied that they have no choice. I understand it's hard but the house burning down would be a much bigger inconvenience. (Don't have a tumble drier, which I believe is also a fire risk.)


pedropony76 · 09/06/2022 21:42

That must have been so scary.

I think the only thing I’d grab is my phone and both my babies (13m DD & 7 week DS). I don’t think I could think quick enough to grab anything else


Lesina · 09/06/2022 21:44

My children my cat and my dog. Anything else is just stuff.


Bananarama21 · 09/06/2022 21:44

I worked with a lady who's house burnt down, she was at her sisters in the next town babysitting. Her sons were in the house and the eldest had put the chip pan on and fell asleep. The other son smelt the smoke called for his brother but couldn't get to him as the smoke was so bad. He escaped out of the window in his room. His brother unfortunately never got the chance to escape and his remains were found in the front room. Completely devasting for his mother who would relive the events and wonder what if she had been there or got rid of that chip pans. Fires can changes the lives of people forever possessions are replaceable people are not.


Terfydactyl · 09/06/2022 21:47

PlantingTrees · 09/06/2022 16:54

Fuck, 6 minutes.

I've gone through two house fires now. The kitchen was ruined in 2 minutes, a lot of smoke damage to the rest of the house too. And full house fire, absolutely gutted the place in about 10 minutes, big wooden house.
I lost a lot of "memories " which can never be replaced, however all living people and animals were safe.
These days assuming people and animals ok, I'd grab my phone and tablet and leg it. Or just leg it.
It's awful OP, I cried outside my home burning waiting for the fire service, then I pulled myself together, thanked my lucky stars we were all ok.


ArtVandalay · 09/06/2022 21:53

Gosh, how awful.

I think I'd only be worried in the heat of the moment about people and the dog.

All of the photos are on the cloud, so no point worrying about that. And my good jewellery, I'd hope I could grab that as it would not be replaceable. But ultimately, as long as people and pets get out, nothing else matters too much.


lurchermummy · 09/06/2022 21:55

A friends Mum had a tumble dryer which caught fire and it wasn't even running at the time. So te hi ally they should be turned off at the mains when not being used but how many of us do that?


tootiredtoocare · 09/06/2022 21:56

People, pets, and my meds. Everything else is just stuff. Probably my biggest fear in terms of home disasters. Smoke alarms, folks, everywhere, preferably wired in, connected ones so that if one goes off they all do. Have a door that unlocks from the inside without keys. If you can't, make certain everyone knows and is perfectly clear about where the keys are, have a spare for each door very close to that door (I just leave ours in the door the whole time). Plan your escape routes in the case of blocked exits, and make certain everyone knows them. Have an escape route to the outside from each floor. Close all your internal doors before you go to bed.

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