Monday, May 23, 2016

5-23-16 ~ Our World Tuesday ~ Hartbarger Fire

A week ago after I got home from town, it wasn't long before I heard one siren after the other. At first I just thought it was another truck wreck up on the Interstate, but there were way too many trucks zooming by the house with their noise makers going like crazy. I walked out our driveway, and the first thing I saw was lots of fire trucks and vehicles all up and down the highway. Our house is on the left behind and just past the 2 vehicles and the truck. As I walked across the street, I saw all of these other trucks and knew it was the Hartbarger homeplace. For years, I used to walk up and down the road with them, but they are all gone now, and a grandson of one of the sisters lives in the house. All of these shots are SOC...both my iPhone and my hiker Canon. Let me tell you that no one was hurt. I did not go across the road to gawk, but rather to be of any help I could be to the family. The very elderly remaining sister with Alzheimer's got out as well as the others, and she has been taken to family in MD, while the rest are living in the old green Stonewall Service Station off to the right that I have posted in the past...remember this:

 The grandson says he is going to fix the burnt out house, but I do not see how that is even possible. The fire department called it a total loss.


 There were three tankers and they were pumping from the creek in front of our house in 3 different places. They also put up what looked like a BIG square red swimming pool in the road where the hose is. I think maybe that is what you are seeing on the blacktop  before it was inflated.
I took the following pictures as the fellows were fighting the huge fire. They were so young, and it was so frightening to me seeing them put their lives on the line like that. So many of the volunteer firefighters in this area I taught which makes it very personal. The smoke was so severe at one point I started gagging. Never have I seen anything like this.

There were a lot of flames forming from this first floor read window.

 Even a volunteer firefighter needs a bit of water at times like these.

 Here the discussion begins about going into the house.

 Here they are gearing up to go in. 
The fire appeared to be out in the front but was still raging in the back.

The Goshen,VA, volunteer chief is giving them their final instructions.

 Here is the first one gong in. I became so upset I had to turn and walk to the other side of the house. I overheard one of them say his foot had gone through the floor but was OK. I could not look so I do not know if the others went in or not. I kept wondering about the oxygen. I thought it was inflammable, but the tanks were on their backs, black face covers pulled down, then their breathing gear on their faces, and their helmets. This one man had what I thought to be some sort of a long axe. 

When I got to this side, I saw the fire blazning on both floors.
It was like it was never going to end. 


These last two pictures Buddy took when he went out to run the next morning.

Before I close out this post, I just want to say how professional and committed these young men were under such frightening circumstances.  Our volunteer fire departments can mean life or death to us  who live way out in the country where there are no fire hydrants. We the homeowners  MUST be on our toes about protecting our homes from fires like this. Ours is 100+ years old, and I feel sure it would be gone before the trucks ever got here. The Hartbatger home was not as old. All we have is the creek that runs in front of the house - and most of the time it carries little water - and to compound things you have to cross our "Bridge to Somewhere" to get to the house. It would not hold tankers, and I question if it would support the firetrucks. I have always been afraid of fire. My daddy was a safety engineer with the Corps. of Engineers, so I grew up in a house that had SAFTY FIRST written all over it. I never leave the place without double checking that all lights, fans, window AC's, the dryer, the coffee pot, my heating name it and I double check to be sure it is turned off. Still, we could be hit with an electrical fire in a split second. We sit almost flat on the ground with no basement so have all kinds of varmints under there chewing away on whatever they can find to put against their teeth. We just have to be careful, review our our escape plans, and pray our guardian angel is looking after us. We also continually put out our No Kill traps trying to catch the pesky and noisy visitors. When Buddy gets one, he drives it up on the mountain and drops off his little friend to start a new life far away from us. We all need to give thanks for the blessings we have received. It is called Gratitude.I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to be in this situation.

This post is linked with Our World Tuesday.


  1. How sad, to lose a home with all it's memories that are contained inside. Thankfully no one was hurt.

  2. Hello Genie

    When you see these dramatic pictures,
    then you can be happy that there are so many firefighters.
    great article.
    Greetings Sadie

  3. Good to know that no one is hurt. The job of fire fighters are usually taken for granted but not many know of the danger they face as they do their job. The house is in a sad state.

  4. What a terrible experience, so close to your home. It is very frightening to see a house burning with all the belongings of people inside. I was a very big fire, do they already know what caused this disaster?

  5. Living in a city we take much for granted such as the fire service. Your post is a reminder of how different it is for isolated home owners. The fire fighters have done an excellent job to save even part of the building. The most important thing of course is that no-one was injured. It is sad to lose memories though.

  6. Our home was burnt out when I was a small girl, but I have always remembered the look on my Mum's face from that day. The house burned to the ground. I am glad to hear no one was hurt in the fire in your area, none in ours either. The young men and women that serve in our fire departments all over the world are the bravest people I know. All our emergency response people are so very precious. It is truly sad to lose all your possessions, and your home, but lives count and can begin again. You captured this very well GEnie. Blessings to the family and your fire fighters.

  7. Hello Genie, first I am glad no one was hurt. The firefighters are very brave and put their lives on the line every day. I am so thankful for our Volunteer Fire Dept. Even though we live 15 minute drive to the closest fire dept. Our house would also be gone before they got there. That also goes for the ambo crew, we used them recently and it took over twenty minutes to reach us. God help us if one of us had a heart attack or stroke. For me it is a good reason to move to a community. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and owners of this house. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  8. A tragic thing, but thank God no one was injured.

  9. You gave us the whole story.
    Scary it is. Wooden houses, as scary as having a thatched roof [ with rats]. We now live in a village where half the houses have thatched rooves. Even scarier. And most of them have open coal fires.
    Why, I wonder? Because it is soooo cosy. Yes, well..
    Firebrigades are wonderful.

  10. A terrible tragedy to a beautiful home. You did a great coverage of the event Genie. Keep us posted if the grandson makes any progress on a rebuild.

  11. Oh Genie this is so sad and frightening. But it is heartening to know how brave and well-trained your volunteer fire fighters are. And of course I am glad that no-one was hurt. But so sad for all the history and the home they have lost. And it makes me think of all the possibilities and worries and gratitude -- even from this distance. (And you have seriously good photo-journalism skills -- you covered this newsworthy even very professionally.)

  12. Such a sad sight, Genie!. I'm glad they all got out okay.

  13. Pretty darn sad!
    Also, very good reporting...

  14. Oh no. I am sorry that that happened. I'm glad everyone was okay. I'm also glad you are so careful. I try to be careful too.