First of all, I call my husband and then the fire brigade

‘It is a beautiful, but chilly Tuesday afternoon in September. I have done the shopping with my 4-year old son Boris. We intend to bake cakes for Boris’ day nursery teacher who will have her birthday later on in the week. I switch on the heating, and start off making preparations in the kitchen while Boris is watching tv. Suddenly I smell something that resembles a burning candle, but the strange thing is that I do not use any candles. I walk into the living room, trying to find out what I am smelling and then I see smoke coming out of the ceiling, near the connection of the dinner table lamp. Years ago we laid on the ceiling in the original void. In a flash the thought that crossed my mind is: short circuit, and in a reflex I take Boris outside on his socks, and put the kittens in the garage. After that I call my husband that he has to come home and then I immediately call the fire brigade.

A flower vase causes water damage

While waiting outside, we hear the sirens of the fire engines that are pulling off. It is a blessing in disguise that the fire station is only a few minutes further down. In the meantime I realize that I should have called the fire brigade in the first place. The police arrive, almost immediately followed by the men of the fire brigade who enter the house with fire-hoses. After the sign ‘fire under control’ has been given, I may go inside again. The lathed ceiling has been pulled down in order to check if there was a fire going on- as it may spread at high-speed through the wiring. It appears to be a mess, but in fact it is not so bad: the cause of most of the water damage was a vase that had been pushed over.

A good reason for ordering a Chinese take-away

The fire officer brings Boris back after a ride with the fire engine and states that I may expect a Salvage coordinator for ‘first aid after a fire’ in a minute. And indeed, after the firemen have withdrawn, Rob arrives. He immediately puts us at ease: we can just sleep at home tonight. But first of all he calls a certified calamity relief company. Its cleaners turn up at our doorstep in no time for the first damage control cleansing. They install fans with nice scents and they open all windows. Meanwhile, Rob calls a loss adjuster to make an appointment in order to assess the damage of the floor on the upper storey. All is well that ends well: at 7 pm we enjoy a Chinese take-away at the dining table that we moved to the living room.
The next morning the cleaners of the certified calamity relief company arrive to clean everything thoroughly. Looking back, it is a blessing that Rob provided first aid after the fire, because at that moment we were at a loss what to do first. In two weeks’ time we will have a new ceiling with new wiring- a hundred percent fireproof.’