It's just after midnight. Earlier I got a phone call from a friend about 10:30 PM. "So sorry to call so late," she said, "but I thought I should call." "Did you know there is a huge fire across from Scottie Dog Quilts? I think they've kept it from the store."
My mind raced......"Thanks for calling," I said, "I'll get right down there."
Fire, fire, FIRE! When you own a quilt shop and your retirement income is sitting on shelves in the store smoke, water and fire would render it a complete loss. I had heard a shop owner experiencing a fire had been told to wash all the fabric since smoke couldn't truly ruin it all! You and I know that you can't wash and iron your quilt store fabric and sell it as new. It would then be "washed." Now some quilters would like that....pre-washed fabrics. But others don't pre-wash. It is one of the BIG questions quilters love to argue. To pre-wash or not. Kind of like to press to one side or open. 100% cotton batting or blend. Hand quilting or machine. Paper or plastic, oops....wrong question. Anyway....the insurance adjuster found out that smoke and fabric don't mix.
I woke Mr. Scottie Dog and we drove down to the store with tarps and duct tape. I wouldn't have thought of that. He's really smart. If there was going to be smoke, we'd cover the doors and duct tape them so no (more) smoke could get in the store. We took the back way since we weren't sure which streets would be blocked off. Going down Elk Rive Road we could see a big cloud of smoke in the distance, still a few miles away. It was then that it really hit me.....What if the store burned? What if our entire inventory had water or smoke damage? Would we have the energy to clean it all up and start over? How long would it take? Or would we just take the insurance check and walk away?
As we wound through the neighborhood labyrinth we could see the the flashing lights reflected in the smoke plume. We were several blocks away when we could see that the fire was actually one half block away from the store. Whew! Most likely there would be no fire damage, no water damage. But what about smoke? We were surprised to be able to park in front of the store. The side street was blocked by vehicles with flashing lights. An ambulance was parked across the street and we could see three fire trucks. We'd passed a couple of others around the corner. Well, God was watching over us as the huge plume of smoke (white right now) was blowing away from the store! We went in and no smoke smell. We sniffed and we sniffed but no smoke at all. Then we walked a couple of houses down and were amazed how close we could get. It seemed that the fire was out and they were just wetting down the roof. First storey windows were blown out or melted. Then flames burst out of the upstairs. Fire could be seen underneath the roof in a couple of spots. We watched for maybe a half hour. While another part of the roof flared up and they cut holes in several places, we could see that the fire was under control. Eerie to see a woman in pajama pants, a T-shirt and barefoot. She had a dog on a leash. Turns out she lived across the street. About 25 people (other than firemen, police) milled around in various stages of dress. One guy had shorts, flannel shirt over undershirt and un-tied dress shoes on. It was odd, I thought to see how many people had pets with them. Also two babies in carriers. One gal wanted to talk to everyone, "I always follow the fire sirens. The last time it turned out to be a friend of mine's house."
One last check on the store and it was back to home. I think I'll go to sleep now. Hope I don't dream of fires.
10 am update: The fire trucks are still there. Mopping up I guess. Liz says the family is gathered on the sidewalk. There was no sign of them last night. I'm sure the house is a complete loss. I hope they are insured. Still, no smoke in the store and for that we are grateful.