Sunday, December 10, 2006

Our apartment building in Long Beach burned on Friday

Our apartment building caught on fire two days ago, Friday afternoon. Mini, Lily, and I escaped the building unharmed as smoke quickly filled our apartment. Two people died in the fire and almost 20 more were hospitalized. Firemen arrived and directed us out. When we left the premises, the flames were right next to our building. We did not know when we went to bed last night if our unit had burned or not.

Yesterday afternoon we were escorted to our unit by firemen. It was an astonishing sight. The fire had completely charred the hallways and elevator lobby immediately outside of our apartment. It was total destruction. The outside of our front door, like everything else in the hallway, was completely charred. But when we opened our door, the inside of our apartment was untouched by the fire. The sturdy door had stopped the fire, and we did not lose anything. There was a smell of smoke, but even that was not serious, and had not discolored our clothes. We have a bunch of laundry to do, but with the possible exception of our mattresses, I think our belongings will be fine. Our unit was the “last apartment standing,” so to speak, since it was the first unit in the row that was saved. Apartments up to # 136 were burned, and we lived (intentional past tense!) in # 137.

The only thing we lost was our place! Our wing of the building has been declared unfit for habitation, so we definitely will have to move. It is a shame, because we had met so many of our neighbors and really liked the people and the building. It’s possible that we may be able to move into another wing of the building that was untouched by the fire. (?) Or we may move to another building altogether. At this point we don’t know. We’ll have to see how God leads us. For the time being, we're staying with Mini's folks in San Dimas.

I think we're all handling it pretty well, but it is definitely a stresser during a very busy month. We welcome your prayers for us. This is the seventh time we have had to move in the past 2 years and 7 months. We'd really like to just settle down somewhere!

You can find the LA Times story on the fire by clicking here. Our friend Ximena from our building is quoted in the story. Here are a couple of pictures:

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