March 3, 2013
I was a tired Momma of two 22 month olds and a 4 week old. Nick took Charlie to puppy classes and my parents went to the states for some shopping. Phoenix and Declan were notorious for bugging Mason, always poking at his eyes and touching his face so I put Mason in his car seat and put him on the stove…the highest point in the kitchen where the kids couldn’t reach him. I got the older boys situated with snacks and a show so I could feed Mason in somewhat of a peaceful environment and grabbed him out of his carseat and went into the living room with the boys. As I was feeding Mason, flipping through my phone the smoke detector went off. For a second I had to think…was I cooking? hmmmm I don’t think so…So I got up off the couch, Mason still attached to me and peeked my head around the corner. Flames. Big orange flames and smoke. The carseat is on fire! (when I took Mason out it rocked back and hit the burner knob) Panic mode set in….but so did my momma bear survival mode. I yelled for the boys to stay there, ran into the kitchen while ripping Mason off of me, put him in the high chair (not the best idea since the kitchen was filled with smoke, but he was only 4 weeks old I couldn’t lay him on the ground)
I think I shut the burner off, I can’t really remember, it was a blur. Then I ran and grabbed our old fire extinguisher we had been bringing from apartment to apartment , house to house. (did i even remember how to use this thing?!) Pulled the pin and sprayed…until i couldn’t anymore, dropped the extinguisher, let the dogs out the back door, grabbed Mason and “calmly” corralled the boys out the door to the entry way where I continued to panic. How in the hell could I get my kids out the door without them running in all directions?! We stayed in the entryway, right by the front door. I layed Mason in a box and I called my Dad (who had just crossed back over into Canada) I don’t exactly remember the phone call but I remember crying and then him yelling at me to call 911 and me saying my phone was going to die. I hung up, called 911 and tried to tell the woman I had babies in the house and I was by myself. The call when out. She said they were on their way and my phone died. Within minutes (a lifetime) a car was in my driveway, My dads friend Dennis (and longtime Fireman) had skipped the hall and came straight to my house because he recognized the address, ran in the front door and grabbed the boys. He put them in his car then asked me if I was ok. (I am forever grateful to him for that day) Not too long after the trucks rolled up and ambulance soon to follow.
Let me explain that my Dad was on the fire department for 26 years. Pretty much every one of the guys on those trucks watched me grow up. While doing their job, each one of them made sure I was ok, gave me a hug then a ‘what were you thinking putting a carseat on the stove’ talk. My amazing neighbour Marg came over to hold onto my dog for me and hug me while I cried. My friend Kyle who was in town visiting his parents came as soon as he heard, to check on us and keep my dogs safe in his van. After a phone call from my parents my Gramma and Grampa came down to my house to make sure we were ok and put the boys in their truck. Mason and I were checked out by the paramedics, but we were fine. I just cried. a lot. I was scared and I felt stupid for how it happened, I know you don’t put anything on the stove, ever. My judgement was clouded by lack of sleep and I think I honestly thought ‘It couldn’t happen to me‘
PSA: it can happen to you. I am so very thankful for the quick responses of the everyone that day. I learned some pretty valuable lessons too.
- Don’t put anything on the stove!
- Know your neighbours phone numbers! To this day Margs number is one of like 3 phone numbers I actually memorized
- Know how to use an extinguisher and have a couple of them! I received another one as a gift shortly after this incident.
My friend is a fire prevention officer so I made him go through my house and tell me if anything looked bad…it didn’t. This was a fluke, it shouldn’t have happened but it can happen to anyone. Even the ex-deputy chief’s daughter.
After a week at my parents, new stove, new wall and my whole house cleaned I still think of that day and feel sick to my stomach.