Sunday, May 31, 2020

Into The Fire

May 31, 2020
   Kathy lost her phone in the fire. She also lost her her computer and her car. We are lucky she didn't lose her life.

   Yesterday morning we had Bud and Carole Glenn over for a brunch. John built our house back in 1987 and I remember the day he informed me it would cost an extra $20,000 to build it with block. It was a tough decision but we went with block. Over scrambled eggs, we laughed about the construction and all the pitfalls and problems that come with building a house. John free-handed our Santa Fe inspired fireplace and it is a wonderful piece of work and I told him how much I admire it every day.

   We laughed and traded stories about our children, and then, after we solved many of today's world problems, the Glenns left. This was around 11 and I went out to the studio to work on a sketch idea I was pursuing.

Daily Whip Out In Progress:
"El Pendejo In Firelight"

   While I was painting, I smelled smoke and at first thought it might be my neighbor Tom barbecuing, but in a few minutes, I realized it was too thick for casual cooking and I walked outside and immediately saw the thick smoke billowing up from the south.

Thick smoke rising out of the south

   This is about 100 yards south of our house. We heard sirens coming and at this time we didn't know how big the fire was, or whether we should evacuate. But we went through this same drill the previous week with the Seven Sisters Fire (to the west of us) and in that tense incident we felt like we left too early, so this time we waited. A fire truck came down Old Stage Road and took the road to the left, above. I thought perhaps they would simply put out the brush fire and we would be saved, which has happened numerous times before, but I was wrong.

Tall flames at the end of our driveway

   Five minutes later, the fire jumped into the invasive weed-choked, open desert across the street. This is when we decided to evacuate. Kathy took her car—a Kia—and her most important items like her phone and her computers and she went out the driveway ahead of me. I snapped this photo, above, which may have saved our lives, I don't know. When I turned the Flex out onto our narrow road that leads out, white smoke was billowing across the road obliterating everything. I drove into it, hoping it was just a brief obstruction, but it got worse and visibility dropped to zero. I gunned the Flex to muscle my way through as flames streaked across the windshield. I must have been going at least forty miles an hour when I cleared the fire and looked ahead of me, but I couldn't see Kathy. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw her car in flames. How I didn't run into the back of her on that narrow road, I will never know.

   She got out and started running, but she left everything she needed in the car.

   I took her to the emergency room and she has bad blisters but she is alive.


  1. Anonymous12:20 PM

    I am so glad she is OK. Thank God only possessions were lost. As a first responder, we suggest keeping the "5 P's" readily available and easy to put into a "go" bag. 1. People 2. pets. 3. Pictures 4. Prescriptions 5. Important papers or PC. This is an easy way to remember the most important items. I also have 2 things, personally important material possessions I will take. My mom's silver tea service and my father's baby picture. We made it thru the Schultz Pass fire and it was terrifying.

    1. so glad you and Kathy are OK. What a terrible, terrible episode,

  2. OMGoodness, thankful you both made it through! Prayers for you both.

  3. Glad you two are okay ! So sorry this happened to you !

  4. OMG, Bob! I'm so grateful you and Kathy are ok! What a terrifying experience. Hugs to you. Deb Gessner

  5. Hope Kathy is better soon. So glad that you are safe. What a terrifying experience!

  6. Oh man, Bob. Kathy was lucky to get out of that car alive! You both were lucky to get out. Wow. We have a house in Yarnell. After the big fire there, the county set up a system to call people for emergency alerts. Please sign up for Maricopa County's system so they can call you when you need to evacuate! You can't leave too soon. You can't tell if the road out is engulfed in flames, as happened to you yesterday. Scary! I'm so glad Kathy is going to be ok.

  7. Glad you're both safe. Prayers up

  8. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Glad to hear Kathy is OK. I guess in the future, we will all have at least a few packed bags ready to go!

  9. Bless you both My Friend. Stay safe!

  10. That's just terrifying!

  11. Bob, I am so grateful you came through.

  12. OMG Triple B.
    I am so glad to read in the story that you both are alright.
    I am a retired volunteer firefighter in NJ so I've got a fairly good understanding of your horrific ordeal. I would imagine that you folks are used to being viligent for range fires but every one is different, yet the same.
    God Bless you and Kathy.
    Humbly yours

  13. So sorry for your loss, but happy she got out ok! Fires are a dangerous beast! I've fought a few range/brush fires, as well as a couple of "real" fires, with a Dozer building fireline. None of them were fun!

  14. My Lord, BBB - your adventures in real life now rival those of which you write and illustrate!

    Such close calls tend to make one more appreciate and treasure that which is theirs...

  15. How terrifying! So glad that you escaped and are with each other.

  16. Anonymous8:23 PM

    VERY glad to hear your home was spared. Being "Firewise" paid off!

    Best wishes!

  17. So sorry Bob, I can’t imagine the thought of losing my home and treasures that go with it. How devastating . Thank God you and your wife are safe. Prayers for you both.

    Regards, Nicholas Yannuzzi

  18. I'm not really religious but I'm glad that God keeps looking out for Kathy. And for you! Keep clearing that brush and stay safe .. we all need lots more of both of you!

  19. Anonymous1:05 PM

    It warms my heart to know that you are so many people care about you. When I saw it on TV yesterday, my heart sank and I couldn't find my phone fast enough..but when I called and you answered I could hear the laughter in your voice! You have joy for life and that's a big part of why everyone loves and respects you so much. So happy Kathy is ok! in the hell did you get past her? Love you Brother

  20. Thank the good Lord that you are both alright ! God is good ❤ ❤

  21. So happy to hear that both of you are OK.


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