The morning after . . . the fire

29 12 2014

Where to begin? Main thing, everyone at the studio including Pua the dog is all right, and the house is still standing.  Second main thing, we have the most wonderful set of neighbors who we heap upon tons of gratitude. Third main thing, if you have a Bosch dishwasher like ours was, did you know it was recalled in 2009 for causing fires? Scroll to bottom of this post if you have a Bosch.


Our  family was so very lucky for the quick-thinking and action of our neighbors yesterday. It could have been a lot worse. As it is now, no one was injured, one appliance is fried, a little bit of cabinetry is charred, the kitchen floor is icky, and there is soot everywhere. We’re waiting for the professional after-fire cleaners to arrive to help clean.

We’re all a bit on edge, still in a little shock.

We’re late leaving for the concert in Honolulu — Beethoven’s 9th symphony — that I am looking forward to hear with our friends Becky and Susan. And Kasey and Doc. A few miles down the highway I realize I’ve forgotten Christmas presents, my phone, my glasses. Should we turn around? No, keep going. How to tell Becky at the box office that we might be late? Ah, Pete (DH) has a phone and I can send a text.

Soon his phone rings, it’s not Becky, it’s our neighbor-across-the-street Carol. “There’s smoke coming from your house, how do we get in?”

“What?!” I think. I calmly give her instructions and hear her relaying them to someone else, step by step.

“They’re ready to break the door down.”

“Wait, here’s how to get in. Call 911.”

“They think it’s coming from the kitchen.”

“Get the dog!”

Carol tells me everything. “There’s smoke coming out of the front room [which is on the opposite side of the dwelling on the second floor, so I’m puzzled].”

“Okay, they got the door open. They got the dog. Here comes the fire engine. I’m not going in there.”

By this time Pete has turned around the car and we’re headed 13 miles back home in bumper-to-bumper Sunday afternoon traffic.

Carol says, “There’s nothing you can do. The fire department is here.”

Over the phone I can hear other voices, the clomp of shoes, and what sounds like water spraying.

One of our worse fears. Various scenarios play through our minds on the ride home. Did we turn everything off? Stove? Iron? Christmas lights? Was I careless and did I leave an oily rag around from painting?

Then Pete remembers. You know, we just had all that electrical work done yesterday for the new solar system. Oh, jeez, you think?

Turning onto our lane, there’s the fire truck, all of the neighbors and their kids and babies outside, waiting calmly. There was Pua on a borrowed leash. She was quivering, so the kids are taking her for a run. The drama is over by the time we arrive. 25 to 30 minutes have elapsed.

Inside the house we see our neighbor Michael, our hero, the one who wanted to bust the door down. Several neighbors had smelled the smoke and reacted. Michael said he immediately climbed to the roof to check the solar collectors, with young Haven (the very bright boy from another family, who got Pua; thanks Haven!) behind him.

Then Michael saw fire in the kitchen, yelled to Haven for the water hose that was conveniently nearby, and blasted the flames. He said at that point it was so hot the dishwater door flew open. The Kaaawa firefighters came in and shook his hand for putting out the fire. Oh. My. Gosh.

I wondered why it was so dark in the kitchen after the fire. The once-white ceiling was now black with soot.

I wondered why it was so dark in the kitchen after the fire. The once-white ceiling is now black with soot.

A couple-three tips:

  • If you have a Bosch dishwasher manufactured in the United States between May 1999 and July 2005 and sold in the United States and Canada, know that there was a volunteer recall to repair certain machines. They were recalled because they were fire hazards. We did not know this. Perhaps we did not file the registration papers when we bought ours.
  • After a fire, after contacting the insurance company, call the professionals to help clean up the mess, 1-800-SERVPRO. Have patience, try not to touch anything. From ceilings to floors, even on my computer screen as I write this, there is a fine dust that looks like pepper. It’s soot.
  • Practice gratitude and kindness toward your family and neighbors. We are one ‘ohana.
Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke



2 responses

30 12 2014
Linda Abbott

Thank Goodness for your wonderful neighbors. So happy to hear that you, Pete, and Pua are safe. I never leave my house with my dryer on but I do with my dishwasher on. I won’t anymore.

29 12 2014
Ruth Sinclair

Oh Rebekah I am so happy all of you are okay!!!!
What a scary time you and Pete must have had. Sounds like you have the very best neighbors!!!
Take Care

Sent from my iPhone

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