I drove Ella and Jake home and then walked the quarter mile back. By the time I got to the intersection, the fire trucks started arriving and there was a volunteer directing traffic (we live in the country so almost all emergency workers are volunteers) who told me that spectators couldn't go any closer. I explained that I wasn't there to be a spectator; it was my friend's house and I was there to comfort her. So I walked through the yards of the houses across the street to find my friend sitting next to an ambulance with one of her dogs who was getting oxygen.
My friend, her husband and their son were at church when it started so they were ok. My friend's father, who recently moved in with them, was alseep when the fire started and was overcome by the smoke, but he was rescued by the firemen and taken by helicopter to a burn center where he is in critical condition. Two of their three dogs and both of their cats died. While the house wasn't completely gutted, it looks like they lost almost everything either to fire or smoke damage.
I have often joked that if my house was on fire and my family was safe, I would run in to save my Bible, my Garmin and the treadmill. But sitting there with my friend, grateful that she and her family were safe, it seemed ridiculous to even jokingly consider any material possession that important. Like my friend, I would be sad about the loss of family heirlooms and photos, and even dumb things like my favorite sweats. But it was a very real reminder that earthly possessions are temporal and the important things in life can't be replaced by an insurance check.
Their church family and friends have already been a tremendous means of grace to them and ultimately my friend and her family will be ok. It was definitely a tough day, but we trust that God has a plan and that plan is for the good of my friend's family.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not dissapoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~ Romans 5:2b-5