herriman fire {my story part III}

Cooper woke up around 7:30 am as he always does.  We went upstairs, I poured him his morning milk and hesitantly turned on the news afraid of what I would find.  News coverage was slow so I quickly moved to the online paper.  I was astonished to see these pictures and read the news from the Salt Lake Tribune:
"Nearly 5,000 residents were evacuated, and ultimately three homes were destroyed and another damaged, Unified Fire Authority spokesman Michael Bohling said. There were no serious injuries reported."

I was stunned.  My heart was aching for the three families that lost their homes, but I couldn't help but feel gratitude for the thousands of homes that were saved.  5,000 people evacuated and ONLY three homes lost.  It was a miracle; a blessing from our Heavenly Father.  I know that many prayers were answered.  My testimony and faith that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers was strengthened, especially after seeing these pictures: 

While online, I learned that school had been canceled.  As the children woke up one by one, I told them the good news, "Our homes were saved and there is no school today!" 

We all stood around the small television in the kitchen and watched the morning press conference.  All the officials kept repeating that it was truly a miracle combined with a lot of work from our heroic firefighters.  From the above pictures, you can see that there was only a bulldozer standing between the fire and these homes.  It was obvious a miracle had occurred in our small community. 

We spent the rest of the day celebrating the good news and praying that the weather would cooperate so the firefighters could contain the fire.  At this point it was only about 20% contained.  We were in touch with family and friends, but mostly we spent the day relaxing at Tim's parents home and enjoying each others company.  I was able to sneak in a nap while the rest celebrated at In & Out.

Around 3:00 pm we had lots of tired children and many tears.  That's when we decided to end the party at the Grandparents house and head home.  As we drove into town, the blackened hillside greeted us along with many police, fire and national guardsmen.  One street above us was still on mandatory evacuation.  We saw friends and neighbors in the street talking about the events of the past night. 

I loved the sense of community I felt as we saw our neighbors unpacking their vehicles and moving back in.  We watched neighbors deliver cookies to the guardsman and police officers keeping post.  We heard helicopters constantly flying overhead dropping water and surveying damage.  We saw fire trucks driving through our streets.  I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my home as I pulled into the garage. 

When we pulled away from our home the previous night, I knew that our community would not be the same and it most certainly was not.  We are now closer together as neighbors and friends.  We have a greater appreciation for the beautiful mountains that surround our home.  We have a deeper appreciation for the service men and women who protect our community.  We have an incredible appreciation for our neighborhood and homes!

Tim rushed the boys off to soccer practice and I made dinner for our family and prepared FHE.  It felt like any other Monday night, but it was not.  Things felt different because they were different in our home and our community.

As we knelt in prayer together as a family, it felt almost surreal that 24 hours ago we were pleading with Heavenly Father for safety, protection and peace.  Our boys were scared.  Tim and I were nervous.  We knelt tonight and thanked Heavenly Father for the blessings and events the past day had brought to our family and home.  While there were many traces of the fire still in our community, inside our home the effects of the fire were unrecognizable {unless you noticed the suitcases I had yet to unpack...more on that to come!}   


Alison said...

That was a miracle! I am so glad everything turned out okay. I can't believe how close the fire was to your house!

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. We were close enough for it all to seem so unreal, but far enough not to worry. I can't imagine what you guys went through. Those pictures are unreal!

Reeses Pieces said...

Wow, I can't believe the aerial view of that fire. That is sooo sad. Glad to see it all from your perspective. Definitely makes you want to be prepared!!!