“You have one new message,” the robotic voice on my answering machine announced.
I pushed play and listened as I put my groceries away.
“Hey, Heidi, it’s Mel,” my sister’s usually cheerful voice was quite subdued, “If you haven’t checked your email, you need to go check it right now. Bye.”
I stared at my computer screen.
I didn’t even know there were any fires in San Diego, I thought to myself in disbelief.
I read the email my Mom had sent our family and just shook my head, not wanting to believe it.
My brother, his wife and their three young sons were evacuated from their house in San Diego early Monday morning.
“They are so lucky the church called and woke them up,” Mel said. She had called again, to make sure I knew what was going on.
“How did the church know?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she said, “Somebody must have been tracking the fire. They went to bed Sunday night with the fire far away and woke up Monday morning when the church called to tell them they needed to evacuate. That gave them enough time to grab their portable safe and take pictures of their rooms for insurance. They were packing their cars when the police knocked on their door and told them they had to leave immediately.”
“As they were driving away, they saw the fire coming to their street. Some of their neighbors tried to rush to pack their cars, but it was too late. The tires on their cars were melting, so they had to run away on foot.”
My heart sank, not able to imagine the urgency they must have felt.
“He said it was so hot that when a house caught fire, the windows on the neighboring house would melt.”
It wasn’t until the next morning that my brother was able to find out if his house had burned or not.
He wasn’t allowed to go and look. A police officer at the blockade wrote down his address and went to the end of the cul-de-sac to check.
Over 100 homes in his area have burned.
I can only imagine his relief when the officer returned and told him his home had been spared.