Writing prompt: fire

Here’s the latest 500 word write:

he 100 year old brick house stood connected to a huge lot on the famous corner of Mack and Burns in Detroit. We purchased the abandoned house for $10,000 and it was completely remodeled. We were given beautiful oak kitchen cabinets from a family up north who was redoing their kitchen in white and for plumbing services for your modern kitchen, you could try here and hire great services. When my husband wasn’t working 100 hours a week in the hospital as a resident physician he spent his other waking moments preparing the house. We painted the walls and redid the bathrooms. Every square inch had been touched with a loving hand.

The move happened in July and by winter our baby girl joined our family making us now 5. It was a cold night and the new wood burning stove was lit and blowing hot air. I had just showered and was cuddled up on the couch with my infant, chatting with my husband, and our 2 friends while our young boys were asleep in their room. We heard our 2 year old son calling. I looked at my husband in confusion and he quickly headed up the stairs… he wasn’t even halfway up when it clicked- my heart sank and then raced- my body grew hot and I started running to beat him up the stairs. He opened the door to Clayton standing in his crib crying out, the other brother, Bentley was three and fast asleep unaware anything was happening outside of his dreams. It was smokey, but not overwhelmingly so, until my husband opened the closet door where I kept my clothes (100 year old homes didn’t account for modern day wardrobes, which meant my clothes were in their room). As he opened the door flames broke out from the wake of oxygen and he shouted to grab the boys. I ended up in an adjacent bedroom with them in my arms, a visiting friend grabbed Lily so I could embrace them more securely while I sobbed. David and our other friend opened the window and started throwing burning clothes out the window from the second story and into the snow below.

I knew right away what had happened. My closet didn’t have a light and phones didn’t come equipped with ready flashlights like they do now- I strung a lightbulb meant for a paper lantern around the pole in my closet. When I was done, I pushed the clothes towards each other trapping the lightbulb between them and then proceeded to shower without unplugging it.

I was without sleep with 2 active boys and a brand new baby- so of course it happened. A tired mother, an old home, and a bad idea to have a light bulb strung in a closet. Full of guilt I looked up from the faces of my boys to meet the faces of our friends and my husband who sat silently next to me until my chest lifted and I exhaled relief that everyone was alive and well.

Show 4 Comments


  1. Karen Lefevre

    Adrienne, you shared this story with me a while back, and I love reading it with all the detail. It’s a stunning example of a disaster narrowly averted. It’s amazing that little Clayton woke up right away (I’m thinking God must have helped you directly with that one) and knew what to do; David and a friend took swift action to put out the fire; you and another friend snapped into mother bear mode. The image of two men hurling fiery clothes out the window into the snow is so visually dramatic; fortunately it wasn’t Tucson in the winter, or you might have set the neighborhood on fire! Please don’t be hard on yourself any longer, if you’re still tempted to do that. It’s such a beautiful example of God’s grace bursting out, like a flame feeding off the oxygen of our oversights and even our traumas.

    • “It’s such a beautiful example of God’s grace bursting out, like a flame feeding off the oxygen of our oversights and even our traumas.” I want to remember this.

  2. It’s so difficult to imagine going through this. How difficult it must have been then and how difficult it must still be. I pray God helps you find grace for yourself as you so generously offer grace to others.

  3. Thank you for sharing this writing, Adrienne. I’m so glad everyone was safe and that you had so many people there to help you in that moment.

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