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Not alone


Fri, May 21st, 2010
Posted in Police Reports

Three years ago it was Trout Days, and I had just finished performing a song with my good friend and duet partner, Sami Skaalen. Another friend ran up to me and told me my father's house was on fire. This time around, it was my father who told me about the fire, and this time the fire was at my alma mater Fillmore Central High School.

May 19, 2007, is a day that will always be remembered by the Gibson family. You could see the smoke billowing over the trees from across town. Sirens were blaring, and there was water flying all over the place. Every few minutes I could hear glass shattering. Whether it was from axes or flames was anybody's guess. You always hear the "don't think it won't happen to you" speech, but never really take it seriously until it finally does happen to you. You can't imagine what a house-destroying fire does to you until you experience it firsthand. After hearing the news of our house fire I took off towards home in hopes that our pets, and more importantly my father, wasn't home. He wasn't. In fact we arrived at the scene before my dad. There were firemen everywhere and a crowd had already started to gather. Thankfully, our house was slightly secluded, and not many people could get too close to us. My brother and I sat on our lawn and watched as flames shot out of our windows. Next thing I know, I've gone through three large bottles of water, I didn't have a single tear left in me, and I was across the street staring at my home through the trees. We had only moved in just a few months before, but it was still our home. We were short a home and our belongings were destroyed. I was able to walk away with a carved Indian box my father gave me, my song books and a glass angel given to me by my grandma. My brother was less lucky. After the flames were doused and the trucks drove off, it was declared a total loss.

Now, the students at Fillmore Central have shared a somewhat similar experience. Exactly three years after our house was consumed Fillmore Central had its own fire problems. My brother just happened to be there to watch them pull the alarm. After a conversation with my dad that morning about the significance of this day, we never could've dreamed something like this would happen. Students were evacuated to the Community Center and the proper authorities were called. Watching from the outside, you couldn't really see much of the damage, but it was clear enough that it had been done. By the time I arrived, most of the flames had been contained, and the students were a block over at the Community Center. Some students were still unable to get their belongings even after the flames were done.

When we had our fire experience, our family and friends really came together to support us and help us out. We received clothes and much needed supplies, and even some furniture for a new apartment from my aunt in Texas. It was also the members of our wonderful community who made it that much easier to get through. The students and faculty at FCHS are lucky that they are not alone. They have their fellow students and a community of teachers and alumni that all have personal ties to the building.

So, it just goes to show that a feeling of family and community can get you through the worst of times in order to move on to the better times. You never forget. I know I didn't, especially with this not-so-welcome reminder, but eventually you work your way through it and at your own pace you finally accept it.

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