As I was getting ready for work this morning, my dad suddenly shouted "Fire! Fire!"
He had lit a candle in the master bathroom, and it had caught on something overhead. I wasn't dressed yet (I wear sweats to bed most of the time; thankfully last night was one of those times) but I quickly roused my sisters and shouted to my dad to call 911, which he did, and we sprinted out the door. As we were going, Ariel ran past me. I tried to block her way, because she doesn't like to be held, but she ran past me into the bedroom. So I scooped her up from behind. Thankfully, she decided not to scratch me, but she wriggled out of my grasp as soon as we were on the lawn, and ran under the car. As we girls watched from outside the door, the smoke from the bathroom steadily billowed into the living room.
Our dad came outside with us, but quickly ran back inside. Adrenaline rush, I guess; he couldn't stay outside. After explaining to our bewildered neighbor what was going on, I followed him in; the house wasn't overly warm yet, so I figured the fire must still be rather small and/or isolated. I went into my parents' room and found my dad standing over the sink, running water, and dousing the fire, which was eating away the shower curtain and the shelves above the toilet, with it. He barked at me to bring him water, so I went into the kitchen (right next to the master bedroom), dodging our neighbor's husband, who had followed us to try to help, and shouted for Nicole to come and help me fill the pans. She and Christi joined me in a sort of assembly line, and we got the fire out, then went back outside, because the smoke was really thick.
As we waited for the fire trucks, Renae and Christi made jokes (Renae was glad she'd worn her bra to bed last night) and our next-door neighbor, Kelly, let me use her phone to call in to work and tell them I'd be late. Kelly's husband, still half-asleep, tried to get the hose out of his truck, but got it tangled somehow.
First a police car came, followed by four fire trucks, two more police cars, and an ambulance. The firemen started asking my dad questions, and he led them inside, to show them the way to the bathroom. Apparently the shower curtain had re-ignited, so the firemen took the fire extinguisher to it. They set up a fan outside the front door to blow the smoke out of the house, which took about 30-45 minutes, almost all of which time, our dad stayed inside, talking to the firemen.
We tried to get our dad to stay outside with us; after all, the firemen had masks, and he didn't. But he either didn't hear us, or he wouldn't listen. Probably a combination of the two; he has very selective hearing. The firemen told him he should have stayed outside, because 75% of all fire-related deaths are due to smoke inhalation, not flames. Still, I'm not sure it wasn't a good thing to have done, putting the fire out ourselves, because the flames were almost through the bathroom wall, and 30 seconds would have seen the fire in the attic --- much more extensive damage. Just a couple more inches, and it would have hit the hair products = highly flammable. A couple minutes (waiting for the fire trucks) would have destroyed the wall right through to the kitchen, and we'd be out of electricity and phone service. We'd be staying in a hotel tonight, rather than merely having to wash our linens and dust the furniture; who knows if we'd still be able to go to Detroit next week. We came very close to a major catastrophe. As it is, we'll only have to replace the bathroom, which needed to be done anyway. :)
Still, once the fire was out, he should have stayed outside. The rest of the day, he was feeling sick and woozy, with a splitting headache, and acting kind of high. Poor dear. He says he barely remembers any of it.
We were quite put out, once the smoke had cleared, to find our other cat, Cookie, sitting on the couch. We hadn't seen her before, because the smoke was too thick, but she'd been sitting there the whole time, while we'd been worrying because we hadn't seen her since the call of "Fire!" Stupid cat. I washed her down with a wet washcloth, because she was very sooty, and she just purred, but we're all still kind of miffed with her. She could at least have crawled under the counter. Pfft!