house fire - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
My fingers become entwined in the woollen blanket, gripping it as if it were more substantial than a square of multicoloured yarn, as if it could keep me from tumbling into the abyss. But as the flames engulfed my cottage, scorching my skin and singeing the surrounding trees, what I needed wasn't a teddy bear substitute. I needed Greg to be here. I needed real comfort, strong arms and reassuring words. I needed platitudes however empty, because if he said them I would believe it. Then from the lane comes the sound of sirens and tires throwing up spray from the puddled, rain-kissed lane. The cavalry are here to save the ashes. I look down at the blanket and release my hold of it. The once perfect knit now has finger holes, it is stretched out of shape and there is a singed portion. The charred wool stirs a memory of stamping a flame from it. Funny. The recollection seems far away. Then a gloved hand is on my shoulder and there is a tender voice but I can't focus on the words.
"House fire," that's all Karl said. His voice sounded like the words were formed of smoke, his lungs charred. The line went dead. The drive home passed in a blur: no traffic lights, no turning from one street to another, not even parking outside behind the fire truck. Our home was like something out of a horror movie, twisted plastic and charred wooden posts, nothing to salvage, not a damn thing. The air smelt of burning, acrid, chemical infused and choking - no wonder Karl could barely speak. My eyes moved from face to face in the gathering crowd, thicker than bonfire night at the plaza. He wasn't there, no ambulance either...
The day my house burnt down I'd been watching TV on the couch with a bag of chips. I don't really recall much else, only that I'd written some shopping list on my hand with a biro. I fell asleep for a while, Columbo always does that. I think it's because he speaks so slowly. I'm not sure where it started, but they think it was in the wiring. I woke up to an inferno. The smoke billowed black across the room, filling my lungs. The coughing was instant as were the tears that washed over my eyes. I suppose the alarms must have been deafening but I don't remember hearing them. The house was reduced to nothing but ashes and charcoal. I stood there on that warm summer evening, shaking, unable to believe what my senses told me was true. My house, my home, gone. Other than the flames and heat, all I recall are the fire crews and the paramedics - they're every bit the heroes you're led to expect. There was nothing left but the plot of land to rebuild from, but you know what they say - where there's life there's hope.
The flame burns with colours I never thought it would. With each flare I know another of my possessions is alight. Even from all the way across the street it's like a bonfire. I can almost imagine the kids throwing some potatoes on there in tin foil. But this is no celebration, this is the burning of all my celluloid memories, souvenirs of a life well spent and trinkets my father gave me from his long ago youth. How did it go up so fast without an accelerant? The wood is fast becoming ash and the vinyl siding is sliding down like chocolate in summer heat. The smoke is being carried to the left by the wind, over the housing estate, raining down dirty ash like anti-snow. As the sirens become noticeable, wailing around the bypass, I imagine all the people I know rushing out to bring in the laundry. I watch like it's on TV, not my house, my home.
The videos of house fires bare such little resemblance to the real thing. The screen shows a TV version, small and cold, black smoke billowing toward the sky. In front of the real thing the radiant heat is intense, scorching my skin. It's more like a colossal campfire than anything else, casting its yellow glow into the night. The smell dominates every breath and the flames are louder than I expected, roaring as they consume what was once a fine home...
Fire licks around the house like it means to play, burning the grasses bleached yellow by the summer sun. At first the wet timber resists, hours of hosing down providing some protection. Yet even before five minutes have passed scorch marks appear, the heat so intense that all moisture is driven skybound. The walls are soon alight and the smell of burning cedar is blown clear over the valley toward homes yet to evacuate.
The alarms sound, an odour of smoke in the air. Turning on the light renders the black curling particles visible. Before any real fear takes hold I'm on my way to Jamie's room, it's only when he's in my arms and I realize the stairs aren't an option that my heart starts to pound. The smoke thickens and I let him down to the floor. He copies me, crawling to the street facing window. It's too high to jump, a broken neck for sure, but from here rescue is at least possible. I could drop him to a neighbour, he's just a babe. So now we hold our hearts out to the almighty and pray rescue comes in time.
Within the house the fire spread with ease, turning the once pretty first floor into a maze of flame. Black smoke billowed up the stairs and there was no alarm to sound. Niles woke to heat, the sound of fire and his own choking. He could see the orange flame from under his bedroom door and he'd seen enough movies to know that opening that door would be the last mistake he ever made. His only option was the window and a fifteen foot drop to concrete, whatever happened the alternative was far worse.
Long after the flames that consumed Green Acres had died down, Orlando would look at the pictures of the house fire. He let his fingers touch the still and cool orange flame, sometimes able to smell the acrid smoke even though it was long gone. To Mia it was a morbid obsession, the house was gone, time to move on. But he vowed that one day he'd rebuild it, make it just the same to every last detail. It was the only place he'd ever truly felt at home, the only house he'd ever loved.
The white house burned like a bonfire set with gasoline. The orange flames were garish against the brilliant paint, the black smoke making dark columns into an otherwise perfectly blue sky. The once blue door was already burning, paint bubbled consumed in seconds by the intense heat. A window blew out sending hot shards of glass into the unkempt yard. It was an inferno that would burn itself out, putting the fire out early would only increase the length of the demolition afterwards - better to rebuild from the ashes than work with a structure too compromised to stand.