The Fire

Caught in a mountain side nightmare fire.

The night after Bjørn’s 40th birthday we woke up in the middle of the night with our holiday house surrounded by fire.

It began so well when we arrived to the house on the mountainside with an amazing view. We spend the day celebrating Bjørn, hanging out in the pool and relaxing after a very long travel journey the day before (arriving in Scopello from Tropea). We even saw the fire before we went to bed, however didn’t think anything of it at that time. As it can be seen on the images below the area around our house was very green when we came to the house. After it is all black.

I woke up around 04.15 to the smell of smoke and orange flames just outside our windows. I tried to wake up Bjørn, but he was very hard at sleep. So I went downstairs to have a better view of what was going on. I remember it like moving in a trance, still not realising the danger of the fire. Then suddenly as I am downstairs, the owner of the house (Giacomo) knocks on the door very violently, I open and the noise of the flames and his loud yelling “run, run, you have to get out, the fire is here – come on, come on!” meets me like a hammer. I scream out loud and run up the stairs to get Bjørn and the girls. The have already been awoken by the knocking and we all run downstairs. Agnes crabs the shoes by the door and Giacomo and his (adult) daughter lift up the girls and start running towards his car (which is parked down the road). I take my straw basket and throws in our camera, wallets, passports and phones and run out the house – realising I don’t have any shoes on. We both run back into the house and find shoes and I throw on a dress. Again we run out completely confused and in panic – Giacomo yells to us “take the car, take the car“, we take the car. The heat, smell and noise from the flames are deafening.

Then we drive down the tiny mountainside road and picks up Giacomo’s daughter, who is running down the road as we drive down. She tells us that her father has the girls and already has driven away. We him a little bit further down the road and get the girls over into our own car. Then immediately after he has arranged for us to be able to stay in another one of his houses (in the valley away from the fire). We go there and are all very shocked. Agnes falls a sleep (she has been sick with fever for a couple of days), but Dagmar can’t sleep and she stays up with us watching the water plans working hard to fight the fire.

Luckily the house itself does not burn, and we can come back and get our things and have a look a the damage in the area. We talk a lot to the girls about all that has happened. We decide to stay in Sicily for the rest of our vacation another week. We have a house rented in another area of Scopello, but in complete safety from fires (several hundreds of fires have razed all over South Italy). Friends of ours come to join us and the girls so look forward to this. The wind has changed and instead of the hot dessert wind a cool breeze has taken over. We stay attentive, but are safe in our new house.

 

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