In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Burning Down the House.”

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

It is 2:00 am and the house is on fire, the kids are safe outside with the dog who alerted everyone and is on the front lawn barking at the fire blazing through the roof.

As I stood in front of my home of fifteen years, I’m consider running into the home for the external hard-drive attached to the computer. Standing next to several neighbors, we watch the fire on the second level above the garage, however the computer is on the first level opposite from the garage. I looked to see whether the kids were with my neighbors as we waited for the fire department to arrive.

I could hear my neighbors telling me, I was fortunate the dog awaken everyone but, my thoughts were on family photos, insurance documents, my will, bank and credit card information, family photos, the kids personal documents and for some reason I thought of the dog’s license.

Just as I heard a neighbor yell, asking if I was ok, I ran towards the front door and just inside I turned left towards my study and grabbed the external hard-drive. As I turned to run back out, It occurred to me, my car was in the garage.

Now, I had a moment of complete clarity of thought. I just purchased the car and have not made the first payment. So I felt the keys in my left front pocket and the external hard-drive in my right hand, I ran towards the garage but, as I opened the door leading to the garage from the family room, thick black billowing choking smoke rushed towards me.

I reached around for the key pad to open the garage door, and immediately the smoke rushed out under the opening garage door. I ran to the driver’s door, opened and jumped into the car.

Suddenly, I couldn’t believe what I was doing, as I waited for the garage door to raise. I thought the roof of the garage would collapse in on me. I could hear the neighbors yelling for me and their wives asking their husbands to go inside after me, I could hear the dog barking and I heard my kids yelling Dad! Dad!

After starting the car, I went to move the gear shift into reverse, my hand brushed against the keys and I noticed the 128 gigabyte thumb drive I purchased months ago. I sat shocked in disbelief, as I realized I ran into my home for nothing. The emergency plan I put in place worked. I recently backup the files from my computer on the thumb drive for just this type of emergency.

I began coughing and I could see the flashing lights of the approaching fire trucks and my neighbors yelling, and I back out of the garage squealing the tires just before the roof collapsed.

I continued backing around the fire trucks and parked, as firemen ran past me while I sat stunned at what I just did.

I heard noises of someone beating on the window. It was a fireman, with my kids and neighbors standing behind him wanting to find out if I was ok. I unlocked and open the doors to allow the kids and dog into the car, telling the fireman I was ok.

My neighbors were angry with me for re-entering the home for the external hard-drive sitting on the dashboard of the car.

I watch the firefighters quickly extinguish the fire, and my neighbors still standing at the car’s door, asking if I was ok.

I turned looking at the kids, the dog, and turning to my neighbor. I stated, I ok, I have the five most important items in my life. My two kids, my dog, me, and holding up the thumb drive.

They look perplex as I smiled in complete contentment.

By Expedition Nomadic Adventurer

As a retiree travel blogger touring the US, voicing my wisdom, opinion, and thoughts about the retirement lifestyle and life in general. I'm an aspiring pre-published indie author of baby boomer romance and adventures with a whimsical comedic side. I photograph wildlife and landscapes, mountain, biking, kayaking, hiking, and backpacking. I travel the back roads and highways of America, Canada, and Mexico, documenting my adventures via print and photography.

5 thoughts on ““Burning Down The House””
  1. You have a wonderful way of telling a story. Please tell me it was fiction. 😀

    1. Thank you for liking the short story Bethie. Email me at and I will send you my response

  2. Well that story certainly had me on the edge of my seat!

  3. Yesterday the house in front of mine, caught on fire… I was scared thinking if thar could happen me… horrible! I don’t know what I’d do!!!!!!

    1. Make a “go” bag of items and keep them near the door just in case. The idea of placing everything on a miniature storage device or saved to a cloud storage keeps personal documents, photos secure and intact for viewing at anytime.

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