February 18 could have been my last day on this Earth. Actually, it could have been my last night. It was a night of horror. A night of shock. A night of fate, fire, doom and possible death. Just one week after celebrating my birthday, I nearly arrived at my death-day.
I thank my God because he rescued my body and soul. He saved my life. He protected me. Who knows where I would have been now were it not for Him? I would be dead. Maybe I would be in a hospital bed. Intensive Care Unit. I don’t even know. The devil tried to kill me!! My body shivers and my heart throbs whenever I think about it; when I remember the events of that night.
Just a typical Monday night ended as my most horrific Monday ever. I was once hit by a speeding vehicle as a kid but the closest to death I have ever come was February 18, 2013. Feeling sleepy and tired, I went to bed in my first floor bedroom at my uncle’s place on Outering Road at around 10:00pm. I left him downstairs, where he usually sleeps. I had had a long day and so I needed some rest. I couldn’t even manage to wait for the FA Cup tie between Manchester United and Reading that was to kick off at 10:45.
As I drifted away and fell asleep, I thought I heard someone shouting, ”Moto! Moto! Saidia! Wooi! Saidieni!” I woke up and realised I wasn’t dreaming, the house was on fire! I jumped out of bed totally confused. I made for the door and when I opened it, I was hit by a thick cloud of dark smoke. I tried to run down the stairs but the billows of smoke coming from down there were too much to risk.
It was hot and the walls were becoming black with soot. I saw bright flames licking the floor and walls and starting to burn the wooden staircase railing. The heat was too much to bear, there was no way I was going to get out via the stairs. ”My God, I’m dying today!,” I said to myself as I rushed back into the bedroom in confusion. All this happened in less than 5 seconds.
My mind raced with wild thoughts. I had been trapped in the burning house. I thought of jumping out of the window, and that’s exactly what I had to do. A sensible idea, there was no other way out. LUCKILY, the window didn’t have burglar proof metal grills. (If you’re living in a house with those grills on the window, you should seriously think about your safety in case of an emergency.)
I clenched my fist and smashed the window panes with my hand breaking the glass with two blows. My hand, elbow, fist and arm started bleeding from the glass cuts and bruises. (I still have those scars on my right arm.) By now the room was full of smoke because I had opened the door. The only thing I took was my phone.
I squeezed myself out of the tiny window and jumped a whole floor down. LUCKILY, I didn’t land on a piece of broken glass. It could have been worse. Fortunately, I had not completely fallen asleep when the fire started. It could have been a disaster. Luckily, somebody startled me by shouting from outside. I could have been choked, suffocated or even burnt to death. Luckily, I went to bed in trousers and a T-shirt that night. (I always sleep naked.)
When I stood up after the leap, I could not walk normally. I had sprained my right foot. I could neither stand nor step on that foot. By now, neighbors and people from outside had come to help. It took them around 20 minutes to put out the inferno before it blew out of control. However, nothing in the living room on the ground floor could he salvaged. Everything had burnt down to ashes. The fire didn’t reach the first floor but everything, including clothes, was sooty.
Somehow, my uncle had managed to get out safely. Apparently, he was drunk and had been smoking and probably dropped a burning cigarette or match stick on his bedding and wasn’t able to control the fire.
Thank God I am alive!!