Last week my life changed drastically, in a way I could never have expected.

On Wednesday, February 11th, I went to bed at around 10 p.m.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but the events that would occur approximately 90 minutes later would be everything but ordinary.

I don't think I was in too deep of a sleep when I heard my mom calling for my dad. A moment later she yelled for all of us to get up.  There was smoke coming up from our bathroom vent.  When I stepped outside into our living room, it was incredibly hazy.  My dad had gone downstairs and was yelling for us to bring water.

We all rushed to get buckets and water jugs but then he yelled for us to get out.  As a family we started grabbing cats and dogs to get them outside.  I wanted to go get our rabbit downstairs but the smoke was so thick it hurt to breathe and I couldn't see to the bottom of our stairs.  It was heartbreaking but at that point, I had to go.  I later found out we were missing three cats

I grabbed my purse and jacket and made my way out the door.  When I stepped outside and got a little ways from the house there were flames coming from the chimney.

My brother called it in and within about 15 minutes there was a fire truck there. Unfortunately, due to all the smoke, they were unable to save the house.  They did an incredible job and I have a new found respect for what firefighters do.  As morbid as it sounds, I spent the next few hours watching my home and everything in it burn to the ground.  It's completely and totally unreal, except that it is real.

Later, after the fire was put out and the firefighters were gone we checked in to a hotel that had been set up by the Red Cross.  I can't say enough wonderful things about the organization and all the wonderful things they do.  It's my goal to someday be able to give back for their kindness.

The last thing I'm going to say is that while this is a devastating tragedy, it's hard for me to look at it as such.  There are so many ways that this could have been even worse.  We are lucky my mom woke up when she did, that we were able to get everyone out with no burns/injuries and get as many animals out as possible.  If it had been even five minutes later, I might not be here to write this.  It's mind blowing and life changing.


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