I've occasionally been asked the question: if your house is on fire, what would you save? Personally, I'd save Rory, Lance (if he needed saving), and my grandmother's poetry book and our mutual correspondence. Everything else is pretty replaceable.
Of course, the question was purely theoretical...until it wasn't. Tonight, my apartment complex caught fire
There are two buildings in my complex. I'm on my porch, so my building was fine--but the other building lost several apartments on the end, and everyone in that building had to be evacuated. They cannot return to their homes until tomorrow, and who knows when their power and gas will be turned on, or if they'll even be able to live there.
What caused this splendid display of pyrotechnics? Well, the university hired a contractor to dig out the pond in front of the apartment building above because their recent construction had caused a great deal of sediment to be dumped into our pond. Through a series of mishaps, the big backhoe ended up in the drained pond, sunk into the loose mud and sediment. Then they broke the gas line. The gas company came out and was presumably taking care of the situation.
Lance and I were sitting in my apartment when an explosion rattled our windows. "That's a gas line blowing," said Lance. We dashed out the door--to see what was going on, to rescue our friends in the building, something--and we saw smoke. Then little flames. Then MASSIVE FLAMES. The people in the two apartments that were on fire got out (including our landlord's mother), so no one was hurt, and all the residents and area citizens watched as the firetrucks came screaming from down the road (the advantages of living downtown, two blocks from a fire station).
Since it was a gas fire, it took a good half hour to contain. Meanwhile, we bounced from outside to a friends' apartment across the street. It is cold, after all. I offered floor space to my now homeless friends (two of whom are now staying here). Everyone's okay, though it was pretty frightening.
So what would you save if your home caught fire?