Namely, my sister's. Every one's fine.
So NPR had a story about how to make your own fireworks. I didn't hear it, did you? Sis and Nephew tried some of them in the back yard but it did not work as expected. Nephew, without Sis knowing, took one of the duds into the basement to ponder. It sat there, on the seat of a vinyl chair while the family watched a DVD. No one noticed any smell or heat. They went to bed.
Sometime later the smoke alarm went off. Sis woke up first. She woke up Niece1. They woke up Niece2 & Nephew. Sis had the dog. One of the nieces stood at the door and called for the cat who dashed out and has yet to be found. Sis doesn't know if the fire department contacted the Red Cross or if they just saw the report on the news. In any case, BIL is on his way back from Iraq. Sis doesn't know how long he will be there.
Nephew has asked to stay with his favorite aunt and uncle who live about 2 hours away. Sis is going to let him.
Anyway, the fire was mostly contained to the basement, however intense heat and smoke filled the house. Everything in the house that had any vinyl or plastic is melted. That includes the finish on the cupboards and the entire TV, but not their cell phones and lap tops. Oh, and their shoes. The kids sneakers melted, but Sis still has some dress shoes.
The good news is that they have good insurance. It will pay for somewhere for them to live for 2-3 months, and for the replacement of everything destroyed, all they have to do is save the receipts. They handed her a check for $3000, told her to get a hotel and buy what they needed right away. They will work out the rest as they go.
She's not going to the cottages this summer. I'm told her I would call our parents. She particularly wants me to contact Dad and tell him they are not going to make it to the cottages.
And on the news report she quoted a Bible verse. She even showed up at the evening service in singed clothes. She is TOTALLY back on the Pastor's "good" list. They are getting quite a bit of support and assistance.
And that's the news from Lake Woebegone.
Added: though the news is reporting that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, that isn't quite true. The fire marshall asked the kids what happened. When they didn't say anything she said, "Who's not telling me something? Were you smoking dope?"
The kids asked her what "dope" was. She got stern and told them not to try to pull anything over on her. Sis pulled her aside and explained how sheltered they were and said they really didn't know what "dope" was. They talked to the kids separately and Nephew confessed, crying, afraid he was going to go to jail. The fire marshall was then very kind to him and said that she was going to record it as an accidental fire, but he had to take a fire safety class.
I know this is all terrible and traumatic, but part of me is a little jealous. She is going to end up with a complete home renovation. The house has to be gutted. She gets new cupboards, floors, walls, furniture, electronics.
Of course right now they are staying in a hotel with two changes of clothes.
Niece 2 was very relieved when they were let back in to take out a few things to find that her library books were fine. The girls' rooms are on the second floor and their things suffered the least damage.