AJ and the Pipsqueak live in a townhouse, a couple of houses in from the end of the block.
This is their immediate next-door neighbor's house around 5:00am this morning:
The lady on the other side is a good enough friend to have made a point of calling from her cell phone as she ran out her front door to make sure AJ & Miri knew to get out NOW. (Ironically, one of her sons is with the local FD and may have actually worked the fire.)
Amazingly, my li'l sis seems to have dodged the bullet, because after completing his walkthrough the Incident Commander said she & Miri can sleep in their own bed tonight. There's some cleaning up left to do (they had to run one of the hoses up the stairs into AJ's attic) but the firewalls did their job.
The house that burned lost its entire back wall & some interior drywall but the basic structure is OK; the other neighbor's house took some damage on the rear side & roof because it was closer to the fire (plus the FD had to cut a couple of vent holes in the wall). AJ's going to have a roofer come in & double-check her topside to be sure but it looks like she got away with just a mild toasting. (We won't know for sure 'til the inspectors finish their checks; she might yet have to engage in some unplanned renovation work.) The cause is still under investigation, but the most likely culprits are either the electrical system or the fireplace.
We got off lucky, lucky, lucky this time 'round. Miri seems to be talking through the entire event OK and AJ's case of the shakes has passed, and the smell of smoke's already pretty much gone. The Pipsqueak handled the emergency like a trooper -- Mommy said there was an emergency so she had to get up, put on some pants and shoes, and get out of the house NOW and that's exactly what she did, no questions asked. AJ told me that poor Xuan hid terrified under Miri's bed, and now she keeps climbing up AJ's leg for reassuring cuddles.
One funny bit... After they were settling back into the house for a nap, AJ realized that Miri was wearing two different shoes... and that her own boots were each on the wrong foot.
Let that be the worst of it. <8-o
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!