i was at my computer, typing away when a coworker had gotten word that there was a structure fire in dotsero which was where she resided, as well as me, and she asked if it was ok if she went and drove towards home to make sure everything was ok. i picked up the phone and dialed 911 communications to find out more information before i hit the road. i had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach tho, as i knew that trailers were notorious for fires, especially older ones. mine is fairly new, about 2001-2002. communications told me that it was believed to be trailer numbers 29 and 30. they weren’t sure where they were located in the park ,and neither was i. the park layout is two rows, and towards the end of the two rows, where my trailer was located, there was a basket ball court/play area for the kids in between the two rows of trailers.
my heart was pounding in my throat as i headed out myself, with my bosses approval. again, all i could think about were the few pets i had left!i drove cautiously as i knew that unsafe driving and speeding wouldn’t help anything; i needed to arrive in one piece. the lump in my throat growing bigger as i got closer to “home. getting closer and on the highway, i could start to see wifs of smoke and our trailer court literally lies next to the highway so as i got closer to home, state highway patrolmen were pulled over on the side of the road to get keep an eye on traffic and get us to move into the lane furthest from the fire. (the trailers on fire were literally a stone’s throw from the fire. but driving by it, all you could pretty much make out was a black structure and lots of flames being whipped by the wind.
i pulled off the exit and onto the access road that goes back up to the park. the park manager and others were out directing traffic, so to speak, they weren’t allowing anyone to drive into the trailer park for obvious reasons. and she said they weren’t allowing people in either. i sat in my car scared, worried, etc, ’til i eventually found out that i could drive up a second backroad that travels along back behind the trailers in my row. there is also a road that goes up to the volcano, and you can take a cut off off of that, but it was blocked by a city truck, and so i got as far as i could with my car and started walking.
this was a challenge ’cause i was in flip flops and it was rocky and sandy. i eventually got to the trailer, changed shoes and got Shyler, my dog, and one of the cats into a crate. i would have to go back for the other two. i also grabbed my cell phone charger and my camera (other then the pets, those seemed like the two most important things at that moment that i needed/wanted) smoke was pouring off the fires and blowing right into our trailers and it was awful!! (wind blowing it from the east to west and the way the trailers sit i imagine) i was concerned about smoke inhalation with the pets if i didn’t get them out, and with the way the winds were picking up, i was also worried that if i didn’t evacuate them….what if it were to get worse and leap from trailer to trailer?
the first run back to the car with the crate and Shyler weren’t too bad. i deposited them in the car safe, and locked it. then headed back for the other two cats.
Ashley was being difficult and hard to catch. it felt like forever to catch her! and if i had of thought it out more clearly, i would have left Merry here and taken Bethany previously when i walked out with Shyler because that way i wouldn’t have been carrying the two heaviest cats at the same time back out!
the walk back with the two kitties, and crates, was long. i was carrying about 20 lbs of cat, plus crates, on a mountainside and i will be the first to admit i am far from being in ok shape. i would walk a bit and then stop, set them down, and catch my breath. pick them up, walk til i could no more, set them down, and rest again. i would estimate that it was about a mile back from my trailer to where i parked the car. not really that far. but i was going back uphill also. a few people here and there, were walking back into the trailer the same way i came. on breaks, i could see a little bit more as to what was going on. there were several fire trucks, and a variety of city trucks that brought in water. at one point, it looked like they were almost flooding the street, but i couldn’t tell for sure.
two men came walking heading the opposite direction of me, and asked me if i was ok. i said yes and they continued on. i was planning to take my time getting back to the car, and was over halfway there, now. but the biggest hill was up ahead and i was about the forth of the way up it, when i noticed the same two guys heading back. one was the brother of the trailer park manager and they went ahead and grabbed the two crates. they had one truck parked up at the head of where the cutoff came off of the road up to the volcano, and he put the crate with bethany in the back of his truck while me and the other boy, actually, cared the other crate to my car which was further up ahead. the truck came down the road and i met it on the side of the road and the gentleman transferred bethany over to by my car. i said thank you, and was very relieved to have everyone safe back at my car. i climb in and headed out of the park. another fire truck pulled onto the access road to the park, and i pulled over to let it have free and clear access of the road. this is when i took the opportunity to let myself have a minor emotional breakdown! then pulled myself together and headed onto the highway.
i grabbed something to eat and headed back to work. the cats spent about 2 1/2 hours in my car, and Shyler was able to go back into the office with me. had we not been let back into the park tonight, my boss said that i could crash in one of the apartments there in the building and showed me one of the rooms, as well as letting me know where the key was for it.
fortunately, we are back home.
i don’t care what anyone says! today was a scary day! it doesn’t have to be your trailer or your home that’s on fire, just the imminent threat is scary enough and when the only family you have is back inside that home, and being threatened, it’s scary. i and the animals had already been thru so much over the last few months! and i could tell as i started walking out with the crates, the expressions on the kitties faces were “oh no! here we go again!” the only benefit this time, was that i was able to get them out and Shyler out, and make sure that they were all safe. i was determined!
i feel terrible for the two families who have pretty much lost everything. i understand another family has taken them into their trailer here in the park. i have no idea as to who they are or anything. the 2nd trailer that’s still standing, i watched as the young couple tried to find anything they could to salvage. i felt so sorry for them; so young, and their trailer doesn’t look that old either. it’s just so fortunate that no one was hurt, and it doesn’t appear that any animals, as far as i know, were injured either.
when we got back home, Merry seemed a bit topsy turvy over everything and spent some time crying once released back into the trailer. Ashley doesn’t do well for long periods of time in crates, and messed on herself. she got a very much needed but unwanted bath shortly after we got home.
now we have all calmed down. i’m pretty much exhausted. i returned to a worksite where things were mess with issues with all of our computer and network systems which made for a very frustrating afternoon for everyone. just damn glad we are all safe!! please keep the people’s who homes burned down in your prayers tonight. thank you!