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Fight or Flight? Possibly the scariest moment of my life

Have you ever wondered if you were brave? You think about a scary situation and wonder if you could be that person that sees an accident and runs in to assist. You see someone drowning, would you be brave enough to pull them out and perform cpr? I had a situation last summer that if you were to ever ask me if I was brave enough to conquer it I would have blatantly told you no and grabbed my kids and ran. Here was my situation:

Last summer the boys and I took a trip up to my parents’ house in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. My parents live in a beautiful 3 story house and the basement is what you would call an in-law suite. At the very bottom of the stairs to your right is a small kitchen area that consists of a stove/oven, sink and mini fridge. My parents moved into this house when I was in college, so this was not the house I grew up in. The stove in the in-law suit never worked according to my dad. In fact, when he rented out that space tenants would use a hot plate because the stove “didn’t” work.

The boys and I when we visited would stay in the in-law suit and I loved having our own bathroom, living room and bedroom. It was like staying in our own little house while we visited. Far enough away that the kids wouldn’t be woken up by us adults upstairs laughing and hanging out and far enough away that my family didn’t have to deal with early morning temper tantrums.

It was a week day morning so both my parents were at work. I was upstairs with the boys making breakfast. Maddox was watching a show in the living room off the kitchen and Mason had signaled he wanted a toy downstairs. Without hesitation I told him to go ahead downstairs and get his toy. While finishing up breakfast and probably 2 min or so went by I started to yell for Mason to come upstairs and eat. It wasn’t like him to not come when called so I walked over to the doorway and as I looked down the steps I saw an orange tinge and smoke. I jumped probably 15 stairs and let out a scream I never recognized. When I got to the bottom of the stairs the stove was on fire to my right and Mason was across the room on the couch saying, “Hot”. The basement has very low ceilings and the flame I would say was less than a foot away from the ceiling. The ceiling was made of these panels that resembled a dry wall type of material. Let’s just say probably very flammable.

I looked at the flame and my immediate reaction after seeing that Mason was ok, was that I can’t let my parents’ house burn. I noticed that there was a plastic dish drain on top of the stove and Mason must have turned the burner on and the dish drain caught fire. Across from the kitchen area is a door to the back yard and I knew if I could grab the dish drain and run it over to the door and throw it outside I may have a chance to save the house. Of course in my mind if that didn’t work I would just grab Mason, run upstairs grab Maddox and the dog and get outside to the neighbors to call 911. I grabbed the drain on the one side that wasn’t on fire and lifted it off the stove. Parts of it still on fire fell on the burbury carpet, but I was able to get it out the door. The pieces of the drain that fell on the carpet were still burning, but I was able to wet the towel on the sink and put it out. Now, the stove was still burning, but I was able to use the pot that was on the side table that the previous tenant left on top of his hot plate (I at least unplugged the hot plate when we arrived to my parent’s house, because a plugged in hot plate and two 3 years olds is dangerous, right?) After filling up the pot a few times and throwing it on the stove and carpet the fire was out and the burner was off.

I grabbed Mason ran upstairs, grabbed Maddox and put the dog on the deck. I ran over to the neighbor’s house trembling and asked if he would come over to make sure everything was fine. Everything was fine, but I was a mess. Mason wouldn’t even go downstairs the rest of the trip and all I kept doing was running different scenarios through my head. What if I didn’t go down there at that moment? What if Mason was trapped down there and I couldn’t get to him? What if my parent’s house burned down? I still have moments where I go back to that moment and think of how lucky I was to go down at that exact time to be able to conquer the flames.

The whole point of this post is, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have attempted to put out a fire. I know some of you are thinking, “Why would she stay and try to put it out? Get your kids and get out!” I agree, I would tell someone the same thing. However, I still can’t believe my instinct was to try and put it out. Maybe in my head I thought my parents were going to kill me if something were to happen to their home. Honestly, I must have had a mommy instinct that I could put it out, because I would never put my family in a situation where we would have died.  We are all much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. If there is ever a moment in your mind that you think you are not strong, you are amazingly strong.

Feel free to share your stories. I like knowing that I am not the only crazy person J.


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