Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


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:

ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 09/06/2022 21:58

It's awful OP, I cried outside my home burning waiting for the fire service

waiting for the fire brigade was the longest 4 minutes of my life. They were there 4 minutes after it started ( a neighbour phoned them as flames were pouring out of the garage) but it seemed like a lifetime.


AlmostAJillSandwich · 09/06/2022 21:58

Honestly i wouldn't be able to get all my pets out, 2 hamsters in huge cages, and 11 snakes, ok the 5 babies in their tank are portable but the 6 adults aren't. I'd honestly probably die trying to save them all, i couldn't give up on any of them.


PassThePringles · 09/06/2022 22:01

My kids and pets. No way would I care about anything else. Wouldn't even bother me running out naked. Household fire is my biggest fear. The reason I'd never have a fish tank/birds in big cages/too many animals, I'd never forgive myself if anything was harmed by being left behind.


ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 09/06/2022 22:02

Our hamster escaped. The firemen found it running round the front garden!!! I don’t know how! We put it back in its cage and a neighbour looked after it..


PeterPomegranate · 09/06/2022 22:08

baddayattheoffice · 09/06/2022 18:51

@PeterPomegranate the fire brigade arrived 20 minutes after my 999 call. Then it took them a further 10 minutes to locate a working fire hydrant, all the time the fire was taking a greater hold of the house. There were 5 engines attending at ine point.
Next day they came back to check that the fire was completely out. One of the firefighters thought it was all a great laugh and was shouting to his mates and joking. I called him over and told him I wasn't impressed, that his joking about wasn't appreciated. He apologised.
Best thing the fire brigade did, apart from putting the fire out, was calling out the amazing Red Cross who came out at 11pm and gave us new clothes, toiletries, blankets, cup of tea and a warm van to sit in.

Oh wow. I’m sorry :( That sounds dreadful. 15 mins is a long time (maybe it varies by area of the country) and dreadful that one of the FFs treated it as a laugh. That’s unacceptable.


balletmuffin · 09/06/2022 22:10

Family and phones. Everything else can be replaced. Thanks for those who said photos of inside your house. I never thought of that before so definitely going to do that. We have what I hope is good insurance.


Plet · 09/06/2022 22:10

Blimey, I don't think I'd even stop to take anything. I think I'd just get the kids and go out whatever exit was available.

I accidentally set fire to a kitchen roll on my hob about three years ago and was absolutely in shock by how quickly the fire grew. I remember looking at it and thinking that it would somehow just burn itself out, but it went 'whoosh' and flames were licking the bottom of the wall cupboards within about 3 seconds. Thankfully snapped me out of standing there open mouthed and I threw a wet tea towel over it which put it out. I really should get a fire blanket and make sure the kids know how to use it. And talk to them about what to do if there's a fire.


PeterPomegranate · 09/06/2022 22:13

Bubblesandsqueak1 · 09/06/2022 19:41

Fireman are allowed to laugh and joke around after the fire is out they risk their lives day in day out and see so much death and destruction yes it was your home and you would have been upset but pulling them on it was shit at least you are all out alive and have a motor home to live in temporarily

They’re allowed some dark humour as a coping mechanism back at the fire station. Not when at the incident in hearing of the people whose home has been destroyed.


Sunshinebug · 09/06/2022 22:16

How awful and terrifying for you all. I don’t imagine I’d grab much bar a phone to call 999 and my loved ones. I do sometimes worry about getting out fast, as we sleep on the top floor of a 3 storey house. My parents used to do random fire drills when we were kids, used to frighten the life out of us but we were always lined up outside in under 3 minutes. Looking back it was very sensible.


Augend23 · 09/06/2022 22:26

I've had a few "near misses" at home - I had some sausages which caught fire in the microwave (they were in a plastic box which I hadn't realised the colouring on the outside was foil). I scooped them up with a kitchen implement onto a baking tray and threw them out the back door...

And a battery charger which started smoking terribly just after I'd put the batteries in. They always make me super nervous anyway because a big Lithium ion battery can demolish a room if it explodes. I unplugged that from the wall, and then again shoved it onto a baking tray and put it in the garden...

I do plan for fires, I have a grab bag which lives by my bed and has notepad, pencil, passport and then all my key documents. I keep my will elsewhere on the grounds that the likelihood of my dying where my will is, in a way that means my will is distributed is negligible as long as my will isn't in my house. I hope I'd take my phone and my glasses as well...

I reckon the bottom of the top storey window is only 10 ft from the ground, so I think I could climb out, hang down and drop with at worst a broken ankle. Ideally obviously I'd use the door or next the back bedroom window (opens onto a flat roof).

I'm so grateful to have so far not had anything dreadful happen, a house fire must be so distressing. We had a flood through the while downstairs when I was little and that was chaotic enough.


Sunnierdays · 09/06/2022 22:29

Aww so sorry to hear this ! I remember leaving my dining room for about five minutes and coming back in to find a fancy candle holder had caught fire, the whole dining table was on fire and it was only by luck we managed to put it out before it went up the curtains .
My house is four storeys and one of the best things we have had done is to get the fire brigade to put smoke alarms on every floor !


RaininSummer · 09/06/2022 22:29

Thanks for sharing your stories. I have just ordered a fire blanket and extinguisher. I will also think about what would be good to grab and keep it together. Terrifying.


FrecklesMalone · 09/06/2022 22:33

CaptainMyCaptain · 09/06/2022 19:57

Firefighters see lots of really horrible things, worse than a house burning down although that is horrible for you. People who work in emergency services use humour as a way to cope.

Yes but as someone who spent years on the front line NEVER in front of those affected unless you are laughing with them.


LakieLady · 09/06/2022 22:41

Chesneyhawkes1 · 09/06/2022 17:22

My dogs everything else can be replaced

So sorry this has happened to you OP. Thank goodness you're safe.

My dogs were my priority when I had them. I'd even worked out how to get them out of the bedroom window if the fire was in the stairwell.

My phone, keys and my handbag would be my priority. I'd need my bank cards!


Nutsabouttopic · 09/06/2022 22:44

We had a major house fire years ago. 25 seconds and our hallway and exit was blocked. It's that fast. Terraced house. We had to get out onto an extension roof and luckily a neighbour got to us with a ladder. We didn't stop to take anything we just wanted to keep our children alive. We wer6left with literally our pyjamas. Every photograph, every home video, every memory was gone in minutes. We had a way out planned and we stuck with it. Always have working smoke alarms and plan an escape route. We never thought that we would need it


NewMN · 09/06/2022 22:47

How awful, so sorry OP. I appreciate you sharing this to help make people think…

i at also surprised how many people have had a fire!

My fire to do list then:

Fire exit plan
fire blanket
fire extinguisher
photo possessions for insurance
photo key documents on cloud
emergency bag in the car (too much??)
switch off the tumble dryer

im sure there were other good suggestions …


Spectre8 · 09/06/2022 22:48

All my important documents are also kept in a fire proof document file I hot off amazon. At the very least those will survive and I dont have to worry about grabbing it. Things my title deeds, passport, birth certificate etc.

So I would just focus on getting out, grab my purse if I can


Lachimolala · 09/06/2022 22:54

A window hammer saved our lives as kids, I still have very vivid memories of my mum doing this scream/sobbing sound whilst smashing at the window. It was a shitty rental and only half the windows were able to even open this was not one of them but it was our only option out, I dread to think what would have happened if we didn’t have one of those.

It was the bloody Christmas lights and a dry tree , the whole of downstairs was engulfed so fast.

For me I’d not grab anything just the kids and run, to any exit I could.


katienana · 09/06/2022 22:57

I wouldn't consider anything other than getting the kids and the dog out. Our upstairs windows only open at the top so they aren't easy to escape from. Have a special tool for breaking the glass for this purpose but I'd really like to replace the windows. We could get out of the hall onto the garage roof but as that's where the tumble drier is kept I feel likebthe garage is the most likely location for a fire.
I read a book last year about surviving disasters and the thing about fire is how fast it spreads and how deadly the smoke is. You really don't have long. So never pause to get any possessions just get out alive and be grateful 🙏. The book covered a disaster in the US at a banqueting venue, people knew there was a fire but stayed to finish their drinks. Their bodies were found still holding the glasses, it was haunting and prompted me to get the window hammer.


IvorCutler · 09/06/2022 23:00

I am so sorry op.

I can’t begin to imagine how traumatic it was for you. Personally I don’t feel particularly attached to any of our possessions. Other than ds’s favourite teddy maybe. I’d just want all of us (including our dog) out safely.


StarFlecks · 09/06/2022 23:04

I'm so sorry. I hope you are all ok. This is one of my worst nightmares and something I worry about a lot.

I'd just grab the kids, dh and whoever else is staying at our place and get out. Oh my glasses because without them I'm not functional but I sleep with them right next to me. My mobile if it's handy.

I'd like to ask:

  1. Is there a best way to get out?

2. Anything to prepare in terms of getting out?
3. What started your fire?

TokenGinger · 09/06/2022 23:12

I saw a tip once on getting small babies/children out of the house (if you're upstairs).

Open up your duvet cover, let the duvet fall to the bottom, put the child in and lower it out of the window. I can't remember where I saw it, but I remember reading a story where some kids had died in a fire and it terrified me, wondering how I'd get DS out without injuring him so I started to research it and saw that tip somewhere. I appreciate you'd need to have some strength if the child was heavy.

I just thought I'd share that, in case it ever helps somebody.


MsOllie · 09/06/2022 23:12

Someone threw a firework in my window and it landed next to me. I realised it was about to go off so went with instinct
Instinct was slam the living room door (fire door) and grab the cat. That was the only thing I grabbed thankfully because as I closed the door, the firework went off


LadyCluck · 09/06/2022 23:21

I’d grab my children and the dog.
If handbag was within reach then that too. I wouldn’t hang around for anything though.


LadyCluck · 09/06/2022 23:23

TokenGinger · 09/06/2022 23:12

I saw a tip once on getting small babies/children out of the house (if you're upstairs).

Open up your duvet cover, let the duvet fall to the bottom, put the child in and lower it out of the window. I can't remember where I saw it, but I remember reading a story where some kids had died in a fire and it terrified me, wondering how I'd get DS out without injuring him so I started to research it and saw that tip somewhere. I appreciate you'd need to have some strength if the child was heavy.

I just thought I'd share that, in case it ever helps somebody.

I would never have thought of that. Good tip! I pray we never need it though.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?