Monday, March 26, 2012

Jeans husband David talks about the fire that almost destroyed his family's home, as a fireman and as a father.

David is old order Mennonite who shares his story exclusively on Amish Stories, he lives on a farm in New York state with his wife Jean and their children.

I have worked at the Fire Department in one job or another including my now being a Fireman for almost 20 years and every once in a while we talk about what was the worse fire we ever went to. The saying was always the same-the worse fire is when it's at your house-and that's true. When I got the call that the fire was at our house all I could think of in my mind is the house engulfed in flames with Michael and Susan trying to get out the second story windows. Thank the Lord it wasn't that.

We also have a rule that you don't fight the fire at your own house after the Fire Department gets there. There is the fear that you might do something at your own house fire-you wouldn't at the other fires you go to. My first fear when we got to the house is where Susan and Michael were and I had to see them. I went into the neighbors house to see Susan as they told us she was there. When they told me Michael was in the one of the barns I went to see him. I just had to see they were both all right.

Now I also know what it means when people think we take too long getting to their fire. We are a volunteer fire department and it takes time for everyone to get there and get those trucks rolling. It really isn't that long-but when you are waiting for them you think it's forever, i now know that feeling. When they got there they started pumping into the kitchen and the second truck watering down the barns so they wouldn't catch fire from the sparks of the house fire. The Fire Chief asked me if everyone was out of the house and I told him yes. I wanted to help but he told me I knew the rule and stay away. My Dad was fighting the fire with the Fire Company. Jean, my Mother, my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law stood watching the Fire Department work. When I saw Michael talking to them I didn't think about it until my Mother came up and told I better not get upset when Michael tells how the fire got started because I did the same thing about his age. Michael told us how the fire started. I didn't know what to say. I was angry, but again I did the same thing and it was an accident. Then I realized the house can be fixed, but the children were out and that's what mattered.

New travels fast in our area,you don't need a phone or computer. Pretty soon I realized Old Order Mennonite, and Amish were pulling in our driveway in their buggies. When they realized the barns weren't going to burn they moved our wagon and farm equipment back in the barns. They brought the cows in the barn and milked them. The ladies had brought food for us for dinner. When it was decided we couldn't stay in our house and were staying at my in-laws all the food went to their house. A funny part was when we got there for dinner we had about 30 different dinners to chose from. Each dinner was large enough to feed us all. Many of those went in my Mother-in-laws freezer-we just couldn't eat so many before they spoiled-we had to do something. When we get our new freezer, we still have some dinners that will be going in there. They will be eaten.

After the fire we told the chief what we believed to have caused the fire and was proven right. The chief, my father and I took a walk through the kitchen, and basement. The whole house was filled with smoke. Fire Department did a great job putting the fire out. The ladies went in the front door and gathered up some clothes for us to wear so we could wear them to meetings (church) the next day. They took them to Jean's parents and washed them in their washer and hung them out to dry. The Chief also called the place to come and board up the windows and door until Monday.

As the next day was Sunday we went to meeting and went back to my in-laws. We did go the house to feed the animals and milk the cows. The topic was the fire and replacing the kitchen. On Monday morning we went to the house -the Old Order Mennonites and Amish were already there. We already have permission  so we could tear down the walls, pull out the cabinets, etc. Also, we had to call the electrician and plumber - Jean already told you their results and what we did. We also cleaned out the basement. Michael and I lost a lot of tools from fire and water in the basement. My grandfather -in-law hasn't used his tools in many years do to his arthritis. He asked if we minded if he gave them to Michael. We said yes-we want him to know he is family. Michael was surprised and accepted them. I am using my Dad's tools right now.

Michael didn't mean to start the fire-it was an accident. What we admire is he did what he was told. As a Fireman I have told our children what to do in case of fire-especially Michael when he first came to our house. Michael is the oldest and understands better than Susan does. When the fire happened he did the right thing-he got Susan and himself out. Once Susan was safe he also thought of the animals and barns. Michael did not act like a child-he acted like a man. We don't have to worry if anything likes this happens again-we know Michael knows what to do and will do it. Even though we don't have to worry "we will" as we are still parents.

Be With God,

Fireman's Meat Loaf recipe

1 egg, beaten

1 cup soft breadcrumbs

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bottled pasta sauce

with vegetables or herbs, divided

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

8 ounces ground Italian or pork sausage

1 pound ground beef

2 ounces provolone or mozzarella cheese, cubed

2 tablespoons shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese

Combine the egg, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup pasta sauce, garlic and rosemary. Mix well, then add both meats and mix again.

Press 2/3 of the mixture evenly in the bottom of an 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pan. Make a 1/2-inch indention down the center of the meatloaf. Place the cheese cubes in the indention. Pat remaining meat mixture on top. Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes in a 350 degree oven. When done allow to sit for 10 minutes.

To serve drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sauce and sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Recipe from www.Recipegoldmine.com


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard