Isaiah 43:3 “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze for I AM the Lord your God.”
2 am the phone rang. I groggily reached for it and heard Jeanita scream, “It’s on fire. Help. Get your husband and children over here with every bucket they can find. If it destroys my house; yours is next!”
I jumped out of bed, ran into the living room and flung open the front door. Jeanita lived 1/2 mile west as the crow flies; our properties backed up to one another. 60’ Digger pines lined the top of the hill just past Jeanita’s house. They were ablaze with 30 foot flames reaching skyward. It was horrifying; I screamed for the children. As they were rushing about throwing on boots and jackets, I grabbed the phone and called my Pastor. I quickly explained the situation, and he began to pray, “O Father help this situation; do a miracle LORD. Let the wall of fire stop at Jeanita’s property and go no further. Amen!”
I grabbed my boots and jacket and ran down the hill with a flashlight, scrambled through the barbed wire fence and up her hill to the house. By then the volunteer fire department had arrived. Thick smoke, total chaos, a bucket brigade. What had happened? As the sun rose, the charcoaled remains of her other neighbor’s house could be seen. The fire department worked furiously among the dry Digger pines and thick underbrush. By 10 am, it was under control.
As I walked around handing out coffee to the neighbors and volunteers, I overheard a Fireman say, “It is the strangest thing. That fire burned hot and heavy right up to the property line and no further. Even though there were tall oaks and diggers whose branches reached over the barbed wire fence, NOTHING burned on Jeanita’s property.”
A few days later it was discovered that her neighbor, who was in the process of building his house, couldn’t keep up with all the costs and payments. His solution was to burn down the house and claim the insurance money, putting 5 other families in jeopardy.
When the 49er Fire happened in Grass Valley, the Pastor began to pray for all our church families. Later it was discovered that NOT ONE single family lost their home. In one case, the fire came right down the hill toward the back of one house, only to split in two and go around each side of the house and join back up again in front of the house and continue burning down the hill. Totally unexplainable leaving that house standing in the middle of burned out grasslands.
The only family to have any damage at all was Patty Palmer’s. The roof was damaged, and the firemen soaked and ruined her carpet putting out the flames. The Palmer’s had needed a new roof and new carpeting, and insurance paid to have them replaced.
In the midst of devastation look for the good! ■