Saturday, September 10, 2011

And the house came crashing down

by Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett / L.L. Bartlett

A little less than a year ago, a house not too far from us blew up.

Kaboom! Gone!

What makes it even scarier, is that I knew one of the owners.  Years ago, my mother had been a volunteer at our local library and met Pat.  I got to know her after I was a published author because she invited me to several events at the library. 

Pat was folding sheets from the dryer when . . . KABOOM!  She was badly burned, but she made it out and so did her husband and their dogs.  The house was leveled.  I'm not kidding. We drove by two days later and the only thing identifiable was half of a toilet.  The rest was rubble (and only about a foot high, too.)  The siding on the neighbors houses melted.  The flames had gone up about 30 feet in the air.  What was once the prettiest house on the street was gone.

So what's this got to do with me?

This week we had a natural-gas generator installed.  It's something we'd been thinking about for years and even before Hurricane Irene hit, we set the plan in motion.  It's a beauty and now that it's there we hope we never have to use it. 

What an ordeal!  First three guys came on Tuesday to dig a trench to bury the pipe.  Tuesday the guys arrived to put in the generator.  That took ALL of Wednesday and half of Thursday.  Generator guys thought they smelled gas on Wednesday.  It was Thursday morning when they found the leak.  It wasn't on our end, it was on the gas company's end -- before the gas entered the house.  But, being thorough, they just went ahead and fixed it.

Whew. Catastrophe averted.  How long had that gas pipe been leaking?  Could a stray spark have ignited it and KABOOM! our house would be gone? Maybe because the leak was outside it never would have ignited.  But I'm sure glad it was found and fixed.

I feel very lucky.

Anything like that ever happen to you?