Let me preface this blog entry by saying that this happened three years ago and everything is A-OK now!!!! :) Proceed!
Picture it (how's that for a Sophia Petrillo story telling opening?!... and tell me someone knows what I'm talking about with that!)...
Friday, August 15, 2008. My husband and I were out enjoying our usual "Friday Date Night"... dinner, a movie, and cell phones forgotten at home.
9pm we arrived home to our cell phones buzzing like crazy to let us know we had voicemails and the answering machine flashing off the hook!
The first message on the answering machine was my sister-in-law, who teaches in my building. "Christina... call me" is all she said. Message number 2... sister-in-law again, "Where are you guys? I tried your cell phones. Call me back!"... then the third message... "Christina! Central (our school) is on fire!".
We immediately got in the car, called her on the way, and headed to school.
By the time we got there, the fire was out for the most part. But there sat my school... four of the classrooms- including mine- wet, smoking, and smoldering.
We all stood around outside sad and crying over our poor school. And then the fire department let us go inside... my end of the building was SOAKED. I couldn't wait to get to my room. My room had no actual flame damage but my floor was flooded... my stuff ruined... and so much smoke you could barely see anything at all.
So, days and days go by with all of us just dying to get in there in the daylight and really see the damage. Finally, the Saturday later, we were allowed to go in just to catalog our losses for the insurance company. I walked in my room and the restoration crew had piled everything they were letting me keep in the center of the room. The pile consisted of all of my books (thank goodness!), one piece of furniture (a big book stand), and a stuffed Rizzo the Rat.
That. Was. All. Too much smoke damage on everything else.
The books I was so happy to be able to keep- my school was under construction and I had them stuffed away in my closet. But everything else (except my darling Rizzo!) had to be pitched.
There were four of us who had our classrooms destroyed and two teachers who literally did lose everything... not even books or Rizzos for them.
The 9 classrooms on my end of the building were moved into portables across the street from the school while our wing was fixed. Here's the portable we learned in from September until February... how's that for throwing a classroom together two days before school started?!
Half of the rooms only had smoke damage and they were able to move back in around Thanksgiving. But the four of us... our rooms were completely gutted and re-built and we were in portables until February. That's right... five months of tromping kids across and back from the school two or three times a day, rain or shine or snow or sleet... UGH.
Here are some pics of my gutted room:
BUT... three years later, I am proud to say that the fire is a distant memory... maybe not *distant*, but definitely something that seems like it was ages ago! We got all new things for our classrooms, the whole school got new carpet and windows, and it taught me a lot about what's important... for example I don't need my STUFF to be a good teacher because I didn't have any stuff for the first few weeks of school until orders started rolling in! I also learned that it is OK if I can't run on my pre-set schedule! I am *that teacher* who is in their room all summer, comes in on Sundays, and is always thinking about school as so many of you are too. Well, our portables didn't come until two days before school started and it was OK! I still taught and my kids still learned.
My classroom in 2011...
So I just returned from school for a day of meetings and working in my room (AKA not getting any work done because I was socializing all day) and I wished everyone I saw a "Happy 3 Year Fire Anniversary"!
I think that's it! I just wanted to share my school's journey! :)
Oh- how did it start... we were having construction done and some materials were left smoldering by the side of the building and ignited! Yikes!
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