Our House Fire Experience
What have I been up to this week?
- I bought another rental property
- Had two lovely dinner parties
- Watched lots of rugby
- We had an electrical fire!!!!
This is what went down....
Two weeks ago my mum and I had popped to Fiji for two nights for a friend’s wedding that never actually took place (instead we ended up just having a party for him but that’s another story). While we were away, the boys (thank goodness) were at home having a few drinks on the Friday night, when they heard the fire alarms going off upstairs. Jono, the guy who lives with us, went upstairs to investigate and came racing back down yelling those words no-one ever wants to hear being shouted in their own home: FIRE!!!
Jono's electric razor had caught alight and a fire with flames as high as your waist, was alive and burning inside the house. As Jono went to grab a pot of water my Ben - thankfully! - yelled "No - it's electrical!!"
Ben grabbed a blanket as he ran upstairs and started to whack the fire out with it! Now, due to not being there I’m a little hazy on how the rest of the night went but I can imagine there was a lot of “OMG!” talk and “Did that actually just happen?!” talk.
Once home, I was given the full story by the guys, who naturally were both still in shock. Naturally I then went into a bit of shock as well. The whole 'what if?' scenario was the scariest part of this experience for me! What if the boys weren’t home? What if we didn’t have smoke alarms? What if Jono had tried to put it out with water?
Once the weekend had passed - and it was Queen's Birthday weekend so the Monday was out as well - Ben rang Youi to place a claim and explain what had happened. He called around midday on the Tuesday and literally 30 minutes later my phone went and it was all go!
We had two inspectors from Youi come around that very day, one inspecting the contents and the other inspecting the interiors.
The next day, we had at least six people in the house: three were cleaners, one was an electrician, one was replacing the fire alarms, one was another inspector and the other was simply liaising with me.
The process of cleaning up a fire is insane!! Apparently, soot and ash are extremely bad for humans and we of course had been sleeping and hanging out in this house since the fire had happened four days prior .... We got a little bit told off for that actually!
The inspector pointed out to me (which I hadn't even known to look for) signs of soot which had settled throughout the whole top level of the house. This in turn meant it had also settled on the beds, carpets and furniture.
The clean-up process
What happened next is too much to describe so I will bullet-point it all for you:
- Cleaners came and removed all clothes and linen to be dry cleaned.
- Cleaners were here cleaning for two full days. And I mean cleaning the walls, ceilings, contents, everything. Even the coat hangers.
- Electrician came to remove lights in the ceiling.
- Someone came to replace all the fire alarms.
- The power went off in our area at 3am one night, which sent the house alarm crazy for the whole night. A man couldn’t come to shut it up until 9am that morning (not related to the fire at all but god damn, when it rains it pours)!
- A carpet inspector came, cut out the burnt carpet and did a replacement quote.
- A company came to inspect and test all electronics. Anything with a fan had to be taken away to be put in some sort of oven.
- A carpet cleaner came to clean the whole of the upstairs!! This was a disaster as I wasn’t expecting him and obviously for all of this cleaning to happen, all of the furniture had to be removed and we weren’t allowed to put it back in the house for a full 24 hours!! I live with three others, none of whom were home, so I raced around trying to grab their toothbrushes and clean undies for the next morning. I put in a panic call to get them all home to help, but by the time they were able to get here, we had moved everything. It was madness that day - and it was also my birthday, so let’s just say we celebrated downstairs and forgot about upstairs for as long as we could!
- Once the carpet was dry I was able to put all the furniture back.
- Dry cleaning was returned.
- Then, I went to the carpet place and chose new carpet.
- A painting inspector came around as now room with the fire has to be painted....
- BUT, he noticed it wasn’t clean enough, so the following day more cleaners turned up for half the day!
- The painters then couldn't come for two weeks, so Jono has moved back into his room temporarily until then.
- Next, he will have to move out again while the whole room gets painted (which will take two days).
- New carpet relaid (this will take half a day).
- Ceiling lights and switches will be re-fitted.
- Electronics will be returned.
And then (hopefully then!) I believe he can move back into his room and all should be back to normal. And then I guess we have to get busy sorting out the dreaded contents claim....
The silver lining!
And there we have it... What an adventure!!
Can I just say though: Youi have been incredible and the people they employ or delegate these tasks to, have also all been so lovely! They come and go from our house so naturally, they have to be trustworthy, and so many of them have such wonderful stories and fantastic chat.
Not only have we learnt the importance of fire alarms and how lucky we were, but we have also met some amazing new people too.