The Roof Is on Fire!
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“The Roof Is on Fire!” Ensign, June 2000, 62–63

“The Roof Is on Fire!”

When I was 16, my parents took on the challenge of building a new home situated right up against the Snake River in Idaho. We built and lived in a temporary house while our permanent home was being built. As fate would have it, in the summer of 1976 the Teton Dam broke, flooding the valley and sweeping away many homes.

After surviving the flood with our permanent home still standing and the temporary house being swept away, we lived in the unfinished home as construction progressed. We heated the home with an old wood-burning stove that had a flue running out the space where our future fireplace would be. This stove had to be constantly stoked to maintain any heat at all for the large open area.

One day I was in the laundry room sewing a dress for an upcoming dance. Suddenly the thought came strongly to me that I should find the nearest fire extinguisher. I looked around and found one in the cupboard of the laundry room, so I sat down and continued sewing. Then the thought came that I should familiarize myself with how the extinguisher worked. I walked over to the cupboard, took out the fire extinguisher, and carefully read the instructions.

Returning again to my sewing, I had not been seated more than two minutes when I heard the cries of my mother coming from another room in the house. Without knowing what she was shouting, I ran to the cupboard, grabbed the fire extinguisher, and hurried into the other room. “Someone get the hose!” my mother screamed.

“The roof is on fire!” But this was December in Idaho and bitterly cold; all the hoses would be full of ice.

I ran past my mother to a tall ladder in the corner of the room and asked her to help me hold it. We quickly set up the ladder, and I climbed it and extinguished the flames. My mother was dumbfounded that I knew what to do or even where a fire extinguisher was located.

When the fire department arrived 20 minutes later, we realized that without our quick actions our home possibly would have been beyond saving. As we came to find out, the insulation installed in our attic two days before had not been flame retardant, as we had thought. It was then I realized how blessed I had been to receive those promptings from the Holy Ghost, and I was truly grateful I had acted on them without hesitation.

  • Teresa Nielson is a member of the Merced First Ward, Merced California Stake.