My apartment was involved in a fire and now I can't get in! With pictures!

Wednesday night, I drove home from my book club meeting to get a book for a friend. As we pulled into my apartment complex, we saw that the area near my apartment was completely blocked by fire crews and emergency tape. A firefighter was kind enough to let me under the tape, but I couldn’t go in my home, as it was filled with smoke, and I am pregnant. They put up a fan and my friend ran in for me, grabbing my laptop, some underwear, important files, and my external. That was all she could get.

While all this was going on, another friend landed. She is also pregnant (32 weeks with a girl), and had planned to live with me until she could find a new place. Our husbands are both deployed to the same base in Afghanistan. Because she is from Northern California and temporarily had no address here, I accepted all of her registry gifts, which meant that they were in my apartment. Her stroller, car seat, playpins, etc, are all in there and we have no idea when we will be allowed in.

As I was talking to Red Cross, the book club friend ran and got the pregnant friend from the airport. Both of us have been spending the night with book club friend. Since she had a large queen bed and we are good friends, we just shared the bed, there were five people sleeping in that bed (I’ve got twin boys).

I went back in the morning to do tv interviews, and see if I would be allowed in. An investigation was underway, which determined that the fire was caused by an unattended propane-powered wok. It ignited, then caught water heater on fire.

Here is the front of the apartment complex. A closeup of an apartment. The back of the apartments where most of the damage occurred. The top apartment in this photo is next to mine. That apartment had both fire and water damage. Another view of the most damaged apartments. The fire fighters dumped so much water on the place, there were puddles around the complex.

A few hours after those pictures were taken, they boarded up the place. We have no idea when we will be allowed in or if anything is damaged inside. I have renter’s insurance, but there are important books, pictures, etc, in there that would be impossible to replace.

I’ve been thinking that I need to move to a new place. Even if there is nothing wrong with the apartment, they will need to do major renovation of the apartments next to mine, which will be noisy. Not good with too small infants. I’m not sure if I’m legally allowed to get out of my lease yet, but we’ll see.

This is the first fire I, or any of my close friends and family members, have been in. If anyone has any advice, tips, suggestions, I’d appreciate it! I’d also recommend having copies of all your important papers and files close to the door so that they are easy to grab if something goes wrong.

I have never been through a fire like that so I don’t really have any advice.

Have you called them yet? Depending on your policy you may get some money to deal with short term housing and other expense.

I’m sorry you are going through this. Take care.

Awww…That sucks!

Good Luck, keep us posted.

Looks at username…

This is excellent advice. Call them before you make any more arrangements, they’ve been through it all before and if you get a good rep they’ll help guide you in the right direction.

You should also contact your husband’s unit. There should be some assistance available to you as a Dependent.

Call your insurance agent. They will give you an advance on your policy and tell you what benefits are in your policy. You would be amazed at what a good renters policy covers.

If there is anything damaged that your renters insurance will not cover, find a lawyer to sue the nitwit who left a propane-powered wok (WTF?) unattended.

I have USAA and they are amazing. They are helping me pay for food and are willing to put me up in a hotel. We’re staying with friends because I need a full kitchen since a lot of foods, especially processed foods, make me sick.

The military helped me break my lease and are looking for a place for me on post. I’m glad that we can get out of there, but I’m not happy about the idea of moving everything without my husband’s help. Even if we can get help with the furniture and boxes, I still have to pack everything up! Most of my friends’ husbands are deployed as well, and a few of them are pregnant or have small children.

Holy crap, that was fast! Glad to hear your insurance co and the military are helping you out! Nobody wants something like this to happen, but it’s nice when things go right after something so sucky.

Will your policy cover your friend’s belongings? Or does she have her own renter’s or homeowner’s policy?

My friend had her own insurance, also from USAA. I’ve been apartment hunting with her. We thought we’d have a leisurely time to go about it, but with everything that happened, we’re trying to find her a place quickly. It doesn’t help that it’s been hot here. It was 106F yesterday. We already need to drink a ton of water as pregnant ladies, and I think we visited the bathroom every half hour. After running a few errands, we were only able to visit one apartment before we had to retire for the day. I’m hoping we can be a bit more successful today.

My friend’s water broke and she’s now in labor. She was in negotiations on a place, and the property manager was kind enough to bring the papers to the hospital room, so she now has a home, but nothing in it. We’ve reordered all the stuff off of her baby registry, but it may not all come in time, so now I’m scrambling to get baby items, as well as to organize a group to help move and set up her items inside her new home. Last night my car wouldn’t start, and this morning, we had a hell of a time getting the move organized. Did I mention it’s insanely hot?

Good news - her husband is being sent back early! He should be here in 5 or 6 days. Hopefully she can hold out until then.

I was happy when I read this. They really are amazing. I swear, if I am ever in San Antonio, I am going to their office and hugging everyone I see. I’ve never had a bad experience with them. (I don’t work for them, I swear. I work for a completely different insurer.) All the best to you, and your friend, and the new people!

This is the worst part about being a part of this message board–wanting to help, but not being able to.

Hang in there, kimera. We’re thinking of you.

Scary stuff… Hope all turns out well in the end.