Thursday, January 05, 2006


Thursday, Jan. 5th- our Town Fire in 1963

Forest Fires
Watching all the forest fires going on in California brought back some bad memories.
It was in 1963 when we had the big fire in our town. Never did find out what started the fire. At the time we owned the Grocery Store known as "Walts Grocery". When I think of that title today, it makes me wonder- it should have been called Dot`s grocery since I ran it most of the time, but then Walt did earn the money we used to start up the Store.
A customer came to the store telling me that the woods were on fire way above where I lived. Then I heard even more fire sirens and more trucks went up the main road. I kept watching them going past our corner and wondering how bad the fire was getting. There were even more trucks from neighboring towns, so I knew the fire was spreading fast.
My step son told me he was going to see of they could use his help. About a half hour later he came home to tell me it was just a few streets up on the other side of the main road. At the time we had only the well pump for water and the water was low in our well. We had planned on driving the pipes down further when we had time. My own kids were small at the time and I had no car as Walt had driven it to work. Didn`t have a car of my own back then. My step son used the garden hose and tried to wet down our house and shop buildings as much as the water amount allowed. He kept running back home to rewet everything. I kept running the store and giving the firemen hot coffee and doughnuts etc. till I ran outof coffee and couldn`t make more for them. Had no coffee to sell till the next delivery came a few days later.
The fire cleared out a whole area known by some as Bennetville-- all poorer people lived in those houses. People lost all kind of animals , even 3 Horses, some goats, peoples pet cts and dogs,rabbits, were lost due to the fire. It went so fast people were lucky to get them self safe. There was one huge beautiful house amongst all the shacks. They told me that the fire took everything in it`s path till it came to that house and it went around it and never touched it-- leaving it the only house still standing in that whole area. Even today, that still amazes me.
The fire jumped across the street onto our side on the corner of the road above our road, but they managed to put it out. It was getting scarry as I had no transportation to get my kids out of harms way. The fire kept burning from early morn till long after it got dark. I never want to relive another day like that one ever again. I could see the high flames thru the huge picture window in the store front. I am the third house from the corner. A couple streets below our street is the Northway which goes over top of the main road. Those flames were jumping so high that they actually jumped over the northway setting fire to the ground on the other side. I was surprised that it could jump that high and that far as the Northway is so high above the main road and the Notrthway consists of 6 Lanes- three lanes on each side. I breathed a little easier when it had burned everything and was now below where I lived. Then someone came into the store telling me the wind had changed and the fire had again jumped across the road below and was burning back my way. I never wan t to expierience another day like that one. When the fire started, my youngest sister was staying with us to help me. She got scared , called my Father, and he came up and took her home. After they left, I got to thinking, Why didn`t dad offer to take my 5 little ones home with him? He must have thought about it after he got home because a couple hours after they left one of my brothers showed up. He said they weren`t going to let him drive up the road and he said he told them to move their feet or he would run over them as he was going to his sisters so she wouldn`t be alone, and off he went fast past them. I was glad to see him so now at least there was a car to carry my kids in if we needed to leave.
Even after all these years, I relive that day when I watch the fires on TV. . Back then a lot of the area was woods that were completely destroyed by the fire. Today most of that wooded area has been built on. Very little wooded areas left till you get to the mountain.
Just one of my scarry days that I lived to remember. There were others, like when the girls were burnt and another time when my Father ran thru every red light with his horn blowing all the way to the Hospital with me in the back seat when I was having trouble before the twins were born. But the op Dr was wrong, I lived and so did my twins. God sure has been good to me. He has helped me thru a lot of hard times.

Dot - that was very well written. Thanks for sharing it. I felt like I was at the grocery store with you.
i have never seen a real huge fire except on t.v. i did start one on accident though when i was a kid but i managed to put it out. i can not stand getting burned though, even a little. i am not to good with pain. i posted a couple of photos today on my blog. i finished nailing down the red oak and now i have to sand some before i put on the stain. have a good one dot and i will talk to you later.
Thanks Kat and thanks for dropping by my blog. Come back again anytime.
Mr Haney, I will check out your blog soon. I keep a lot of aloe plants in my home just in case I need them. I am safer in my shop than in my kitchen. With the bent finger on the left hand and the injured knuckle on the right hand that sticks up higher than the rest I often hit the finger or knuckle when taking dishes from the oven. Walt used to tell me to yell when I need to take something from the oven and he would come out and do it for me so I wouldn`t get burnt. Actually the knuckle got damaged yrs ago when my other stove blew up and my hand was badly burnt.
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