We think a squirrel probably did. We still don't know. We had no idea what was going on last Friday morning, as our downstairs neighbor woke us up at nine in the morning with cries of " The house is on fire!!!". We had no idea how bad it was or what was going to happen. We put on coats and shoes, bolted out the door, and watched as three fire trucks filed in one after another, sirens wailing in time with the cop car in front of the house.
As the fireman methodically checked to see that everyone got out and appropriately dealt with the growing smoke, all we could do was watch along with the neighbors that were gathering on the side of the street. The fire looked decently contained from where we were, the only signs were the smoke lazily pouring out of the back end of the house where the dry wooden stairs,insulation, and crawl spaces were. It looks like the fire originated there, most likely when a squirrel got in, and chewed on some wiring.
After standing around for over an hour, waiting for the go ahead, the minor panic that had blossomed in my mind at our neighbor's words had subsided. It was clear the fire was being controlled, and our apartment was far from the probable damage. I decided it was nothing more than an inconvenient alarm clock for which there was no snooze button. Then a fireman approached us, accompanied by our landlord, and they told us that in the process of checking to make sure the fire wasn't in the walls, our living room wall was destroyed, along with the ripped up carpeting. They looked at us, almost apologetically like it was actually their fault instead of the dryness in the air and the spreading of smoke; but all that they said was "You're probably going to want to move."
A fireman took us upstairs to get what we'd need for the next few days. Slightly shell shocked, i got lost looking at the plaster debris of the broken walls and destroyed floor that coated everything in the room. Pictures of my nephew, Brenden's favorite chair, our papasan; all of it was covered. It's moments like those where I'm especially grateful for having Brenden in my life. He grabbed all of the things I had forgotten, things that weren't his responsibility to remember. But he grabbed them anyway.
We were lucky. Our landlord had an open apartment right next door to ours, but that essentially meant we were going to have to move. So, we did. Our parents traveled a few hours each way, and they came up and helped us move. We all carried furniture, vacuumed dust out of every nook and cranny of every item, and cleaned all the surfaces of the new apartment. By the end of the weekend, we had moved most of our stuff, and had set up our new place.
This was a difficult experience, but it helped reinforce a few things. My fiance and I are completely right for each other. When all of this happened, we worked hard to love and support each other, and I am especially sure that we will see each other through anything. It's also nice to know that though we are legal adults, gaining more independence everyday, we still have supportive people who love us. From friends that let us crash with them, to the parents who sacrificed their time, energy, and resources, to professors who gave extensions, to people who wished us well. I am so very thankful that in the heart of difficulty, the people I'm proud to know gave us a hand up, held on, and stayed with us through the hard stuff. They are amazing, and we are blessed. :)