It was the Tuesday after Pentecost last year that our backyard shed was destroyed by a fire. So with a year behind us I thought that I'd take a look back.
Because Easter was earlier last year, it has actually been more than a year but because the event is so tied to the Pentecost holiday, it seems more like a year. The fire is one of those events that is hard to put a time on. On the one hand, it doesn't seem like it has been a year but on the other hand it seems farther away.
While I can's say that this is the single worst event in my life (losing my mother to cancer on The September 11th and losing my grandfather are certainly up there is well) it is certainly up there near the top. Looking out my bedroom window I could see the flames blazing out of our shed, stories tall, and I could feel the adrenalin flow. Immediately I was relieved that my family (including oma, who was staying with us for the holiday) was all together and I could see that everyone was safe. We all waited what seemed like an eternity for the fire department to arrive and put out the fire. The fire never reached our actual house and we were lucky that it only destroyed the shed, fence, and the other damage it caused but as it was burning I didn't really know how far it would get especially since our backyard is not so big that you could look at it as just a little fire in our shed. I have a newer appreciation for those people that have watched their homes destroyed before them, unable to stop it. I won't pretend to fully understand how such victims truly feel, because that would be unfair to them, but I did feel fear and a sense of helplessness like I'd never felt before. Since my wife was woke by the sound of the blazing fire and woke me up around 3:30 am and it was pre-dawn, the fire had the element of darkness that you can't really see what is going on and how bad it is, that magnified the intensity some how.
As daylight came and I was able to have that initial view of the damage, I was shocked to see it all. As time went by you start to realize more and more the things that were in the shed that either need to be replaced or that you have to live without. Looking at the damage it was more a sense of absorbing the magnitude of it all and feeling the associated emotions. Looking around of course you notice the charred and burned wood of the shed and surrounding wood fence and melted metal and melted rubber of all the things that were in the shed.
When you think about a fire, you realize that there will be work afterwards, but you don't realize how much there really is to do. For months after the fire I had all kinds of work. Getting rid of all the debris took several days and trips to the local dump and something that would have been a lot harder if my neighbor Gerhardt hadn't helped me so much and let me use his trailer to haul some much away. After cleaning away the debris, I started working on putting up a fence. We briefly thought about putting up a metal one but it didn't take long to realize how expensive that would have been, so we decided upon a wood fence. I felt a lot of pride and accomplishment as the fence went up and I painted it. Gerhardt helped me design the fence and was an immense help in putting it up. After getting the fence up, it didn't take long to realize that Hobbit would be able to slip through the rows, so first we tried to put up this bamboo type material, only to find out that it was strong enough and wouldn't work. Later on I added two more rows across the fence (and of course had to paint that all too!). The new shed was finally put up in August. Clearing and digging out the area where it was to be built was a lot of work. Gerhardt and my neighbor Frank, helped me put the cement sills in that would support the shed as well as putting cement around the sills. Around the time that the work crew was scheduled to put our shed together, it was discovered that more support was needed under the shed. This meant further delays as I needed to put wood beams 90 degrees to the cement sills and now we had to wait for an opening in the schedule of the work crew. After the shed was stood up I painted it with the same stain and sealant that I had put on the new fence. Putting a couple of coats on took a few days.
There is still work that I need to do. I still need to put grass in the yard in the area where the old shed had been and am currently planning to do that later this Summer or fall. I'm also going to add another couple of coats of stain to the fence and shed. I hope that by using only stain that the color will be closer to that of the rest of the neighbors. I put several pictures from the fire and the work done for the shed in an album at Myspace.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009