Kevin J. Roberts

My name is Kevin J. Roberts, and I've made it my focus to transform lives for the better. Whether it's through ADHD or academic support, cyber addiction coaching, public speaking engagements and seminars, or my numerous books and articles, I help my clients unlock their inherent potential to change the world.

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Hopes Dashed: My Fire Part 2

Posted on by Kevin.

Note: This is the second blog post in my series about my fire and how I have dealt with it.  I look forward to comments on this one!

I sat helpless in my new, jet black Ford Fusion hybrid, with my cat hunkered down in the back seat.  The heat was cranked, because I was clad only in a pair of white boxer briefs, and I knew, as well, that the heat would soothe the cat.  Not a half hour into the fire, she was purring on the floor and soon went off to sleep.  Shortly after the fire trucks had arrived, I called several people.  Longtime friends Palmer Stevens and Doug Rutley dutifully showed up within less than a half hour, Doug bearing clothes for me and Palmer wearing a miner’s headlamp and armed with a video camera.  Palmer’s entrance on the scene was somewhat surreal: as the fire raged, he ran around shooting video and taking pictures, which provide a good record of how things transpired.

Fighting the Fire

At this point, my heart continued to race.  My main concern was that the firefighters contain the fire to the garage and breezeway so I would not lose the whole house.  But, almost an hour in, the blaze continued.  One of the problems was that the garage door would not open, preventing quick and easy access to the fire.  Firefighters brought in a massive saw and cut it out, while another crew used ladders to access the garage roof, and cut a whole from above.

Cutting in to the Roof

As the removal of the garage door gave a clear view of the fire, I had a sign of hope:  my Snapper riding lawnmower, a machine I really love to use, was undamaged, and sitting toward the edge of the garage.  I got out of the car and quickly made my way to one of the head honchos:  “My riding mower is right there.  Can you guys get it out?”  Lieutenant Brown, a very compassionate man, turned to me with an empathetic frown and replied, “Mr. Roberts, we are not to that stage of the process.  This is an active scene and we’re still trying to control this fire.”  Almost as soon as the words left his mouth, a loud boom and a flash of fire erupted in the front of the garage; the gas can next to my 13.5-horsepower Snapper exploded, and my beloved mower was essentially toast.

Snapper is Toast

Guilt rushed through me the moment the gas can exploded, and I decided to let these men do their job.  Attachment to my possessions could have put a fireman’s life in peril!  So many thoughts and feelings teemed within me.  I could not contain them.  I got back in my car and asked my friend, Doug, to come with me.  He just let me talk things out, listening to whatever ramblings left my mouth.  This helped to calm me down.

I had an overwhelming desire to do something, but there was really nothing I could do, and I just seemed to be getting in the way.  I am a man of action, but on this day I was a victim.  I hate uttering that word, but it is the truth.  Realizing that the lawnmower could not be saved drove home the severity of the situation.  I was in danger of losing everything, and I was completely powerless to prevent that from happening.

A few minutes went by and they began to move  the fire trucks, which I thought was a good sign.  As the large hook-and-ladder truck rumbled up my street, however, I realized that the exact opposite was true.  “Mr. Roberts,” Lieutenant Brown beckoned me, “the attic between the garage and the house is packed with stuff and that area is becoming the real fire.”  The hook-and-ladder Leviathan was moved into place so that its hose could bombard the attic with a constant flow of water, much of which made its way to the lower level of my house.


They Brought in the Big Gun

I later learned that while this move prevented the whole house from burning down, it was also responsible for sending massive amounts of smoke and soot into the main house.  One of the firefighters told me I could be back in the house in a month or two, but closer inspection put that figure at 6 months or more.  The trouble is that the whole house smells like smoke, so much so that 3-4 minutes is about as long as I can take without a mask.  I hope to be back in by Easter.

After the first day, I had a lot of data to synthesize, needed to find a place to stay, figure out lodgings for my cat, Ms. Kitaline Kitt-Kitt, and begin to let my new life soak in.  I will go into Day 2 in the next blog posting.  I really welcome comments, and am open to provide more detail on any point you find interesting.




  1. Kevin,
    This posting gives me a more complete revelation of the trauma to the house which I have been in many times before my departure from Mi and the psychological trauma to my friend of 25 years. I would have been the third one with you that morning. I know you well enough to feel confident of your perseverance in this episode of life and the positive results forthcoming.

    Posted on by Joel Katz
    • Thank you! And you’re still welcome to live above my garage! 🙂

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  2. Kevin – Made me think of a couple of things. A pulled fire alarm in a college dorm. All the ladies had their robes, and all the guys had a pair of skivvies. Secondly, perspective on what is important, what we cling to v. what is absolutely paramount. Very few things, if any, are paramount. The cat is not a thing. Third, it is also a testament to positive movement from victim (I also detest that word), to conqueror, from vulnerable to unassailable. Finally, the need to extend compassion to others; the sympathetic yet resolute firefighter, and the friends whom helped meet some very basic needs without hesitation, for you. A new spin on Thanksgiving.

    Posted on by Dale Williams
    • Thanks Dale. Your remarks have got me thinking. And yes, there are few things that I really need. I still have almost none of my personal items, and you know, that has stopped bothering me very much. Thank you for your thoughts. 🙂

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  3. Oh my, Kevin. All this time, I thought you “only” lost the garage- I didn’t know until reading this that your whole house is unlivable. I am soooo sorry. Is there anything I can do?

    Posted on by Terry Matlen
    • You moral support is appreciated. 🙂

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  4. Wow Kevin, didn’t sound this serious when you first wrote about it. I’m so sorry. Smoke and water damage can be worse in the long run than fire. Glad you are safe and that you have insurance.

    Posted on by Robin
    • Robin, for the first few weeks, I was putting an excessively optimistic spin on things, probably to keep myself from falling into depression. BUt I am in a good place now. Thanks for your concern. 🙂

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  5. Oh my gosh Kevin! I am so very thankful that you were unharmed! You even stayed sane enough to grab your kitty. I am impressed! Nothing else is as important as you and your cat. It can all be replaced. Thank goodness you did not go back in to save anything else! I had no idea that this was such a close call for you….somehow I thought you were not at home when it began.

    Posted on by Pam Glidden
    • Yes, about another 10 minutes and the house might well have burned completely to cinders. Thanks for your kind words.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)

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