One morning Jack came out from under the kitchen sink, where he’d been putting in the plumbing, to tell me that God had impressed him to go into town and buy plumbing supplies and a long garden hose to connect inside the hot water heater closet to use in case of fire. I, of course, wanted him to finish the sink plumbing before he started another project, but he was determined. It was late afternoon, after the fire hose was installed, before he got back to plumbing the sink.
Meanwhile, for weeks we had been piling limbs and brush to burn on the first perfectly calm day. We are on a hill and windless days are rare, but late on that same afternoon, after Jack had installed the fire hose, the breeze died down and Bill asked to burn the pile of brush that had now grown as tall as the second floor.
Unfortunately, the scraps of Masonite boards that Bill and I had been piling on the stack were not visible under all those tree limbs, so Jack gave him the okay. Bill and I found out the hard way that Masonite burns unusually hot and keeps a fire going for a long time.
As the mound reached full blaze, the wind suddenly kicked up and started blowing unusually hard. A deafening roar brought all of us out of the house to find that what should have been a safely contained brush fire, which would have burned out quickly, was now a huge mass of unbelievably hot flames being blown straight toward the house. One tree had already been engulfed, and we knew it would be only a matter of time until the others would be ignited. These were the days before cell phones and before our telephone had been installed.
Jack didn’t have time to investigate to find out what had gone wrong. He dashed to the water heater closet, unrolled the long water hose that he had just installed, and kept the water blasting full-force on the trees that would have otherwise ushered the fire right up to the house. Three hours later we were finally satisfied that things were completely under control and it was okay to turn the water hose off. The only things damaged were a few of the trees that were alarmingly close to the house.
Even some of the neighbors from three miles down the road, seeing the blaze and thinking it was the house, had come to help. I have often wondered what would have happened if Jack had not been obedient and had not stopped his sink plumbing and gone immediately to plumb in the water hose. It was worth its weight in gold on that one occasion.
-Peggy Joyce Ruth
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