Everything has come to a grinding halt here since Tuesday afternoon. Around 3:20 in the afternoon I was putting the finishing touches to some Morris 15cwt trucks for our next wargame when the doorbell rang.
It was Dave, our neighbour. He said: “Your shed’s on fire. I’ve called the fire brigade.”
I rushed out of the back door and to the summer house where I keep a large fire extinguisher. By the time I got back it was clear that would not be enough. I began to unreel the garden hose, but another neighbour appeared and dragged me away. As we left the garden I saw that the garden fence was alight and the back end of our caravan had begun to melt, as had the guttering on the flat-roofed extension to the house.
My rescuer asked what was in the shed. Apart from the usual collection of old paint tins there were 3 large gas bottles, propane and butane. I and everyone else were forcibly retired to the other end of the street.
By the time we could hear the fire engines trying to battle with the traffic – at this time of day our area is crowded with “Chelsea Tractors” each with a doting parent and a brat who would benefit from walking home from school occasionally – the scene looked like this: https://www.facebook.com/peter.tolson/videos/10155431633238149/
I will try to get a copy of the video posted directly here to avoid the Facebook log-on. Meanwhile here is a taster:
We had four fire engines, numerous police cars and two paramedic cars. I was taken to hospital to have my burned face dressed.
When I returned from hospital, everything had died down and everyone had left we faced this sight:
So, two days later, we are still waiting for the insurance assessor to call, and everything remains untouched. We have come down from the adrenalin rush and the initial shock to a state of mild depression.
But it could have been much worse. We have only lost stuff. The caravan was fully insured for market value and there would have been littla depreciation since we bought it just three weeks ago. I doubt if the home contents insurance amount will cover all the lost items, but many were d-i-y tools bought for a specific job in the past and stored in the big shed.
A massive thank you to the fire crews who saved the house and were so considerate – they even went into the our bedroom, under the part that was burning, chucked all the teddy bears from the shelves onto the bed, and covered bed and wardrobe with plastic sheeting to minimise water damage.
And where would we be without all our neighbours, who alerted me, called the fire brigade, saved me from severe injury, found our dog two streets away and gave physical and moral support, and have offered to help clean up the mess?
When this is all over we intend to hold a “thank you” party for them all – but probably not a barbecue!
And the cause of the fire is not yet known.