Untitled © Vanessa Paxton via Flickr
I am terrified of fire, so bad, that as a child I was forbidden to watch the news or any shows, or movies, that might contain fire (obviously “Towering Inferno” was a no-no). It was and still is, a terrible phobia. Nightmares, panic etc. As an adult I have learned to live with it, and as long as it doesn’t involve me, the old fears do not return.
I was newly married and working in a restaurant. Someone came tearing through the building into the kitchen where I was looking for the fire alarm. Then came the smell of smoke. I panicked along with everyone else. We couldn’t go back and the kitchen and dining room were locked. Finally someone calmed down and threw a chair at the large dining room windows and we got out hacking and coughing.
We had to run beside the building (only a small path) with windows exploding and fire and glass raining down on us. I was petrified, but ran with the others.
We finally came out to the front of the building and just stared at the fire as it reached further and further. Real life fire to bring out my fears. I was choking on the smoke and now I understand how people die from smoke inhalation.
We all got out, thank God! No one got hurt except for the smoke inhalation.
I went through grueling interrogation along with everyone else. Hard to forget it when constantly reminded. I had horrible nightmares.
That fire was not a mistake. A disgruntled employee set that fire on purpose. That fire was set in a small office right near the restrooms that I had just come out of. That close, way too close.
I still panic whenever there is a fire drill or when the alarm goes off unexpectedly. Most new jobs would have a fire drill not long after my arrival and several of my work places had had fires and over the years have burnt down. They seem drawn to me.
I had one job that told us that no matter what we couldn’t leave until the evacuate siren sounded. We had work to do before we could leave. I told them I would not be staying if I saw one lick of fire. I can’t imagine many would stay and shut down machines if there was a real fire. I knew it wouldn’t be me.