Sunday, October 28, 2018

Fire and Books Do Not Mix

Although it would be a worthy endeavor, I don't want you to imagine yourself running into a burning museum or library and saving an original Gutenberg Bible or something of that nature.

No, I'm going to set parameters on this question.

The fire is in your very own home. The books that are burning are your books. Within minutes, ceilings will collapse, windows will blow out... You have time to save just ONE of your books.

Which ONE BOOK are you going to save?

My Answer:

I have multi-generational books on the shelves in my home. Many of them contain very fond memories for me. How could one possibly choose?

Hopefully, I am the only one answering this question whose house actually tried to burn down. I had family visiting, flames trying to engulf the central section of the house, thick toxic smoke that made you cough and feel as though your lungs were being shredded.

If this were to happen again today, I would only change one thing from what I did then. Then, I was holding my dog. I grabbed my wallet, my spare pair of glasses, and my keys, made sure everyone was out of the house, and got out of there. I did not save one book. Not one.

If this happened today, I'd still make sure everyone was out of danger. Since they are all in the same place, I would grab my wallet, my keys, and my smartphone. The only really different thing I would do-- okay, okay, I did grab the smartphone instead of the glasses!-- is grab some clothes. The first time around, I came very close to being forced to shop for clothes wearing my purple robe and fuzzy slippers!

My focus then was on my loved ones and having the identification and other means to take care of the aftermath. That would not change now. There is an upside to having a smartphone: I have a Kindle app, and I would be able to access all my eBooks, so this time I would be saving some literature.

One thing is certain; however, you never really know what you're going to do in a situation like that until it happens!


  1. I'm sorry you had to deal with that, Cathy! How frightening!! I would really have to think about which book I would save. I'm honestly not sure I could choose just one. I would grab my Kindle, and that would help, but the rest of my poor shelves of books - I don't know what I'd do!

  2. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd worry about saving any of them. Yes, I have books that are dear to me, but they are only books - not lives. It would be nice to grab my Kindle, but it could be replaced. I've become fairly minimalist in my life in some ways - think losing dear family has done that for me. All of these things - just stuff. Maybe precious stuff, but stuff. If I have to choose, I might grab my reading notebooks - there are 5 of them that begin in 1993.

    How scary that must have been for you. Glad no one was hurt. Hope it never happens again.

    1. That's what it all boiled down to when it happened to me-- It's all just "stuff." But you honestly do not know what you'll do until forced to make the decision. For example: my grandmother risked life and limb getting all their stuff out of the guest room when, at the time, they could easily have replaced it all without blinking an eye. I had the devil of a time getting her out of the house!

  3. I don't think I'd grab books, just my purse with i.d.'s and perhaps some financial stuff, my keys and a few items of clothing. I'd grab a computer but my pc is too big, but maybe my laptop.
    Hope it never happens to you again or to me or anyone I know.
    There was a fire in the next building about 6 or 7 years ago and two people died. And there have been fires in my buiding in apartments, but everyone survived. It is frightening.

    1. It is very frightening-- especially when you're trying to make sure everyone is out of the house.

  4. Yes. Someone was trapped in an apartment during a fire. The roommate ran out, and the door snapped shut. Neighbors couldn't get in to rescue the other woman.
    Fortunately, the fire fighters broke the door down and saved her. She had smoke inhalation, but survived. The apartment was ruined.

    In another strange explosion, someone was baking bread. Then her oven exploded and her cabinet beneath the kitchen sink. Turns out something combustible was stored under the sink and the heat from the oven reached it. The cabinets are made of tin.

    The heat even caused a bottle of nail polish to burst in her bathroom. Luckily, she was not in the kitchen at the time, so she was OK. But the stove, kitchen sink and cabinet had to be replaced. Strange things happen.


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