A Prepper’s House Fire: My Story W/Video Interview

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My house fire. House fires are something we should prep for, and in this article, I will share my personal story about when my house caught fire a couple of weeks ago. I’ll review what I did and learned and offer a few tips should you ever experience a house fire.

We usually have ten different ways of creating fire in any one of our 95 bug-out kits. Well, Im not talking about that today. Today we’ll look at, hopefully, putting a fire out – a house fire.

I recently had a small electrical fire inside the wall of my home that could have been a lot worse. My wife could smell it, but I couldn’t. Smoke detectors did not pick it up! They have since been replaced. This house fire became a valuable lesson on many levels. 

First, I would like to thank the Fire Department, who eventually did show up and verified that the fire was out. 

How My House Caught Fire

As to how this unfolded, follow along. It began with a tripped breaker

I had just replaced a bad breaker in my electrical panel. The new one popped after replacing it. Immediately, I knew there was a problem somewhere with wiring. While I discussed with someone over the phone for ideas, my oldest grandson came home and asked what was happening to the siding on the front of the house. 

I went outside to inspect what he was talking about and immediately said, “We have a house fire.” My wife kicked the dogs out to the backyard, which they were not thrilled about. 

I went into protect mode as no visible flames were inside or out. I went inside and threw the main breaker off. 

Having no power stayed in my head as I had three freezers packed full of food. I could have gotten the generator out, but that was not a priority now. I knew there was something burning inside the wall.

I put my grandson on the water hose, spraying the roof. I grabbed the first fire extinguisher but did not have direct access to the fire. 

I had my wife move our two vehicles from the driveway as the neighbors gathered. My wife was insistent that I call 911 at that point. I agreed and called.

After about 10 minutes, they answered the call. I gave my phone to someone else, having given up on their answer, and continued my fight to save my house. 

I pulled my wife to the side and told her if this lights up, it’s all gone in about seven minutes, and if she wanted anything, she needed to get it out of the house now. 

Eventually, a couple of holes appeared in my vinyl siding. This was the break I needed. Now I had access to the fire. I shoved the hose of the fire extinguisher into the first hole and pointed it up and down. Then did the same thing on the second hole. I used the second extinguisher to repeat the same action a few minutes later. 

Fortunately, I had two more fire extinguishers available. I was holding off in case flames shot out somewhere. The fire department still has yet to arrive. I did finally talk to the 911 operator. I explained that I was confident that the significant threat was over but asked them to come to check everything out. 

One pumper truck showed up with no lights, no sirens. They hopped out of the truck, axes in hand. Shot the wall with the temperature monitor gadget and started popping holes in the sheetrock. They hit the wall with some water to get the temperature down.

House Fire Aftermath - Demo Begins

They were happy and left. The story should have ended there, but reflection has a way of teaching us things. 

First off, I’m getting a carbon monoxide detector upstairs now. I also have to replace a couple of fire extinguishers. 

If you don’t have at least two fire extinguishers, you are seriously putting yourself at risk. 

So, what did my wife grab from the house, you ask? She grabbed her family bible right next to mine, but mine stayed. Her dad’s ashes and her work laptop. 

She left $1000 in cash that we were taking on vacation in two days. I didn’t have much time to be selfish, but I grabbed my EDC bag. I threw the bag into the backyard next to my riding lawn mower. 

My EDC bag was essential as it had digital backups of all necessary paperwork. I wasn’t worried about my guns, ammo, food, or other preps. I did not have time. We always hear scenarios of what you would grab if you had 30 minutes or some other bug-out scenario. 

Well, I didn’t have that kind of time, and I was delegating tasks as I could think of them at the moment. 

Lesson Learned – Lessons Taught

A Prepper's Fire - Drywall Going Up

Thanks to some good friends, family, and neighbors, I had the wall sealed up and new electrical in place, and the first piece of the sheetrock up within 24 hours, and then we took our vacation as planned.

Don’t panic: Everything has a process, and training your mind will be much easier.

Delegate tasks: Mitigate potential losses of a house fire or any SHTF event.

Prioritize: Now my father in laws ashes are with the family bible, and my wife will react much faster if there is a next time. Maybe she will grab mine too!

Take action when possible: Don’t wait for the cavalry to arrive. You have to be the one to decide the outcome. I know there are times when we lose, but not always. You can lose it all in a house fire.

No time to second guess your preps: Hopefully, you’ve stored them so they can be safe in a catastrophic event. The ammo is in ammo cans and should safely cook off. The guns were in a fireproof safe. My food may have cooked, but insurance would have paid out. My physical documents were in another safe, and I had digital copies, so I was not concerned with stuff!

Always have a midnight fire burning,

A Prepper’s House Fire:

Jeff B.

Prepping for about 13 years now in the Midwest. Husband, father, brother, son, Grandfather to 6. I enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, and in general just being outdoors.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mandy

    Wow, that could have been so much worse! I’m so thankful everyone is ok, and a great reminder for me to check our fire extinguisher and get another one as well! So many good lessons here.

    1. Jeff B

      Mandy, that’s the reason I wanted to do this article with Brian. So many things to think about and plan for. It ended up being a pretty small fire because I was on it quickly. It could have been much worse.

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