This is the third post in a series of personal stories about how my parents’ house has some really bad luck.
In the first post of this series, I wrote about the fire that nearly destroyed our house before we ever moved in. But that wasn’t the only fire.
The backyard fire
Our first winter after finally being able to live in our new house was eventful. My mom was pregnant with my youngest sister. And the back yard caught on fire. The fire happened shortly before my sister was born, in fact. Since we were served by a volunteer fire department, the response time was not quick. My parents, including a very pregnant Mom, were carrying buckets of water to contain the fire until the Georgetown Township Volunteer Fire Department arrived.
My memory on this is murky, but I think the tanker truck came from Greenville Twp. I don’t remember if the Lafayette Twp. fire department came for this one or not. My parents’ house is right in the corner of Georgetown Twp., so it’s pretty common for multiple departments to respond to a call in their area.
I don’t remember much else about this fire. I know it happened, but I don’t recall how it started or how much it spread. I know it didn’t damage the house, which was surely a great relief for my parents.
The bathroom fire
Fast forward about a decade and a half. I was home from Purdue for the summer. One day I was sitting in the bathroom, doing one what does. The light and the exhaust fan shut off suddenly. Since it wasn’t just the light, I know that it wasn’t an issue of a bad bulb. I hollered for someone to go check the breaker and they flipped it.
It didn’t take long for the light to shut off again. I figured it was time to finish my business so I got out of there as fast as hygiene would allow. We flipped the breaker on again and didn’t think much of it. I was in the dining room talking to whatever family members happened to be in there, when I heard a clattering noise in the bathroom.
I went in to see what caused it and saw the light cover on the floor. How odd. Then I saw it was on fire. Ah, that would explain it. I looked up and saw that the entire fixture was on fire.
As fortune would have it, I had a big fire extinguisher in the trunk of my car, so I ran out and got it. I used it to put out the fire. Then I ran to the shed to get my dad’s ladder so we could check the attic. I couldn’t see any fire.
Meanwhile, someone had called 911 and the fire department was on the way. Since it was around the Fourth of July, the Georgetown VFD was stationed near where some fireworks were going to be set off clear on the other side of the township. So Lafayette also responded.
The fire was out well before either department arrived, but since they have those fancy infrared cameras, it seemed like a good idea to have them make sure nothing was smoldering in the attic. Thankfully it wasn’t.
My parents tended to leave the bathroom exhaust fan on 24/7. It never bothered me until that day. Maybe it’s because I would have had melted, fiery plastic drop on my lap had I been a few minutes later to the bathroom, but I am now firmly in the “the exhaust fan only runs for showers” camp. It doesn’t feel like a traumatic event, but it has clearly changed my behavior.
Well that’s awkward
The bathroom fire is personally notable for another reason: I had a friend who was a volunteer for one of the responding departments. She had decided to leave them and volunteer for the other department. But she hadn’t told the old department yet, so they found out when she showed up on the new department’s truck. I felt bad for her, but it was also pretty amusing.