Fire, My Worst Nightmare (Non-fiction)

Untitled © Vanessa Paxton via Flickr

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.




About Tessa

My name is Tessa Dean and I am an author and blogger. My writing styles vary and I love writing using prompts. I am also writing my first book, a Memoir entitled "Government Property - A Memoir of a Military Wife".  This is being published on the blog rather than the traditional way. I am putting up chapters as I go along. I keep my blog filled with useful content, stories, and poems. Plenty to keep you busy. I have also been interviewed by blogs and had other posts published on many different blogs. I also wrote a series of articles on Bipolar Disorder for IBPF (International Bipolar Foundation). I am in my 60’s and disabled which allows me plenty of time to write to my heart’s content. I live in southern New Jersey and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. My oldest grandchild is a Sargent in the United States Marine Corps.
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9 Responses to Fire, My Worst Nightmare (Non-fiction)

  1. Lyssa Medana says:

    This sounds so scary – and fear of fire is a rational fear, it can do so much damage. Thank you for sharing. LM x


  2. Maggie says:

    I too have a fear of fire related to kitchens…needless to say am not a cook. Your fear so well expressed in your story. Nice detail of fleeing the scene and reflection afterwards. Definitely scary.


  3. Valerie says:

    I have a healthy respect for fire too! You captured your terror of fire really well here! Great job!!


  4. jannatwrites says:

    What a scary story. Thankfully, I’ve never been in a fire. When you were describing how you were trapped, my chest tightened and I felt panic inside. (I won’t even get started on my rant asking, ‘what’s wrong with people?!’.

    It’s interesting how our fears are sometimes realized. I have always been afraid of earthquakes. I was visiting CA with friends after graduation. I had been there for nearly a month and wouldn’t you know it- the very last day I was there, there was an earthquake and several aftershocks. I didn’t go back to CA for nearly ten years! (I’m also afraid of tornadoes- worse than earthquakes, so I don’t think I’ll tempt fate on that one.)


    • Tessa says:

      I am afraid of most natural disasters, but not to the point of the fire. My childhood tv was closely monitored. Had to be or days/weeks of nightmares and screaming during the night. Now I am fascinated by watching tornadoes (from a distance).


  5. That’s a scary true life story! I remember seeing a fire once and it terrified me. The flames seemed like hungry monsters consuming the house. It gives me shivers even now to think about it. I can’t imagine actually being in a fire. Sara


  6. Cameron says:

    I had a recurring fire nightmare as a child, but nothing in my adult life to rival this. Justified fears, for certain.


  7. Pingback: Fire, My Worst Nightmare (Non-fiction) | Tessa Can Do IT!

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