A fire… I was awakened in the middle of the night last Sunday by a horribly acrid, noxious smell in my BR in L’Appartamento Azzurro, the top most portion of il Poggiolo, our house in the Lunigiana. I immediately thought of a fire in the apt.’s fireplace. Nothing. Got back in bed. The odour got worse. Sometimes the contadini burn trash late at night down in the river often throwing plastic into the flames. I thought that was what was happening. Sceptical, I looked out the window to see tons of smoke right below where I was. This is NOT happening in the river. I stepped out onto the terrace outside my BR to see the chimney of La Casetta wrapped in flames. I bolted to awaken the neighbors staying in La Casetta while their house is re-built. I ran into the daughter on the ramp. She had been awakened by the same nasty smell and called a friend on night-duty at the volunteer ambulance service to come with fire-extinguishers. Inside the LR danced more flames up where the flue passes through the roof. While the fellow tried to douse the fire with the synthetic spray on the fire-extinguishes, the daughter & I ran back up to L’Appartamento Azzurro to do a bucket-brigade to put out the flames with water. 30 minutes later all was put out.

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I have an idea as to how it happened. There is a lesson to learn, I knew it before but others did not but, I am mostly thoughtful of this…

lucky that the daughter awoke and called for help… lucky that the friend arrived with the fire-extinguishers and set to work. The nearest fire department is 30 minutes away!!!… lucky that I was roused into action too… lucky that no-one was injured or, worse by the noxious fumes… and lucky that the roof and fireplace were built out of fire-retardant materials. Had they not, in minutes all would have been for a total loss.

Monday morning, I got a local builder to come and check the damage and to tell me if he could repair all. Said the chimney was built properly and, sadly, too busy to help. Still in the phase of post-earthquake reconstruction. Our geometra arrive too. Said the chimney was built properly and made a call to a builder expert in chimneys to come make repairs. He’s booked. Called our insurance agent to have a claims adjuster come and inspect the situation so the re-construction can begin.

Now, if the rains can hold off, I will feel even luckier!

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