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life after a fire

I worked a short day on Wednesday. I was headed home around 6:30 and called my husband to make sure he was helping my daughter make dinner. We small-talked about what we were going to get done that night when suddenly he said, “I have to let you go.”

I assumed a pot boiled over or a dog peed on the floor. I was only an exit away from home, but I was surprised he didn’t call me back, or shoot me a text letting me know what was going on.

A few minutes later I called him. He was so muffled. “What? What is going on?” I shouted into the phone.

“Something bad happened.”

“What? What are you talking about??”

“The stove … it caught on fire. The fire alarm …”

“OMG, you set the fire alarm off??”

Before I could wrap my brain around what was happening my mom’s phone number flashed on my caller ID. Instinctively, I clicked ‘answer.’

“Jade is here. She is ok. Did you know your apartment is on fire?”

My mom lives less than half a block away from our apartment complex. I pulled in her driveway and watched no less than 5 fire trucks pull up, sirens blaring.

Tears rolled down my face. I could see my husband standing outside of the building, shaking his head.

Never in my life have I experienced anything like this. I felt like I needed to Google “What to do after a fire.”

Life changed.

Life after a fire will never be the same.

What’s Important

I have never had a clearer picture of what is important. My husband and daughter made it out, although my husband had minor burns, and their first insticts were to save the furry loves of my life, my little dogs. I don’t want to think about what could have happened.

My husband just started making dinner like any other day. Til he pulled the lid off a pan and flames shot out of the top. His mind thought, put water on it! The flames flew everywhwere. The sprinklers turned on. A fireball shot through the kitchen.

Thank God there was a sprinkler system to almost immediately put out the flames. But that same system churned over 30 gallons of water per minute into our apartment for over 15 minutes until the firemen could shut it off. At one point there was a foot of water in our apartment. That seeped into the apartment below until the ceiling collapsed.

Most of our belongings are destroyed, if not by flames then by smoke and water. The carpet, stove, fridge, and cabinets have to be replaced as well as fresh paint and some ceiling repair. 

The Silver Lining.

So that all sounds pretty awful, and Saturday was by far the worst. All of the appointments were done, the adjusters are calculating the damage. All we have to do is sit in the hotel room. I have never really been a depressed person, but it hit me hard. It almost seemed to hard to be worth going on. I notice my nail polish is chipped and think I should change it. Oh wait, I don’t own nail polish any more. Or remover. Or cotton balls for that matter.

A lot of emotions are running through me. I am SO THANKFUL that my family is safe. We are in a pretty nice hotel room, and are able to have the dogs with us. In so many ways we have been shown incredible  favor.

But in a lot of ways this is the hardest thing I have ever been through. Money was tight BEFORE the fire, I don’t want to think about the situation now. Lots of people contacted me right away wanting to know what happened, but now that we really need a support system, a lot have disappeared. I haven’t been able to sleep so I am tired and cranky. I feel like people wanted the gossip, but very few actually wanted to help.

But, in the midst of all that there have been several amzing things that have blown me away. Several of my salon clients have given me gift cards for Target and the grocery store. Many bloggers that I have never met in person have sent me encouraging words, and even offered to start a fundraiser. There are some amazing, compassionate, and kind people in the world. 

I keep saying that there are easier ways to get new carpet, but we will be coming home to an essentially brand-new apartment and be able to select some new furniture to replace the pieces that were destroyed. Again, there have to be easier ways to get new furniture, but who doesn’t like a little shopping?

We get to be intentional about what we choose to bring back into our home. A lot of the unneccesary clutter has been eliminated for us. A restoration company came in, cataloged our stuff, and even moved it for us. I haven’t had to touch a thing.

Lessons Learned.

The biggest takeaway from this experience is, for the love of all that is holy carry renter’s insurance! We had a fairly large policy that should cover all of the structural damage, and replace the big items we lost. The person living in the apartment below us did not have insurance. While the structural damage will be replaced, his stuff will not. If you rent, PLEASE get insurance! And familiarize yourself with what it will cover. I can’t imagine how much worse this would have been with no insurance!!

The second lesson I have learned is don’t be too proud to accept help. It is SO hard for me to ask for help, let alone accept it. I have turned so many people down because of my pride and have been struggling. I am finally learning to accept what people offer.

I’m sure I will be writing more about this experience because it has been such a huge thing in my life, but for now I haven’t fully processed it. I wanted to get a post up to let you all know what was going on, and thank you for all of your support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.




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Hi! I'm Melissa!

Melissa is a former hairstylist of 20 years who has a passion for living a simply creative life. She loves inspiring others to pick up a planner and get their lives organized, to clean out a closet and minimize their clutter, and to clean up their physical and mental space to lead their most fulfilled life. She is newly single, a mom, soon to be grandma and crazy dog lady who constantly rewatches The Office.



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