'Tis the season to be careful, especially when it comes to fires.
Now that cold weather is upon us, it's a time when we hear more about people being left homeless because of fires.
It would be difficult for anyone to say how they would feel if they lost all, or nearly all, of their worldly possessions because of a fire.
Such a tragedy struck home for my son, David, and my step-daughter, Amy, on Tuesday morning when they learned that their mother's brick home in Martinez had caught fire and been badly damaged. Both were attending college classes at the time - David at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and Amy at Augusta State University.
Their mother's husband was the only one home at the time of the fire, which reportedly started due to an unattended pot of oil on the stove. Randy was very fortunate not to have been injured. Their mother, Tina, was working at Blue Ridge Elementary School at the time of the mishap.
Their brick home off Oakley Pirkle Road was gutted by fire, including my children's bedrooms. David didn't lose much in the fire with the exception of childhood photographs. Amy, however, suffered the loss of clothes, shoes and many other personal belongings, just like her mom and step-dad.
Firefighters with the Martinez-Columbia County Fire/Rescue Services battled the fire for an extended period of time. Even the busy road fronting the home had to be shut down to traffic.
I knew nothing about the fire until late in the afternoon when I received a phone call from David informing me that his mom had just telephoned him with the sad news.
I was shocked. And yet at the same time, I was so thankful that God had spared anyone getting injured - especially Amy, who still lives at home with her mom.
Although I'm divorced from their mom, I've always loved Amy and my son, David. And I always will. As a parent of a step-son, Daniel, by another marriage, I'd rather die than have anything happen to either one of the three. They are my children and I love them. I'd do anything for either of the three.
As one of their parents, I feel it an honor to be responsible for them and to see that they are protected and never hurt.
After talking to David and consoling him as best I could, I immediately telephoned Amy to see what I could do for her.
She said she was going to live with her boyfriend and his parents for the time being until her mom and her husband could make better arrangements. Her mom and step-father are now calling an area hotel home.
I felt helpless, so helpless.
I pray they are able to recover from this tragedy, just like I would for other families who lose so many of their possessions in fires. I know that God will see each of them through this sad time.