Calvary The Brook - Grand Terrace California
From the journal of our Director, we get a glimpse at a recent
near - tragedy. Although, we will let him explain it in his own
I am a lightning rod, it would seem, for the inevitable problem,
the “Master of Disaster” so to speak. Sometimes my life
resembles an “I Love Lucy” episode. But some of these things
are not so funny when they are happening to you. Today is a
case in point. I will not soon forget it.
I am continuing to try to get the trailer
ready for the ministry so that we can
begin to do things in the community. I
have made some good progress, but it
still feels as though there is much to do.
We have endured nearly a week of rain
and it appears as though there is a leak
in the roof of the trailer, so with more
rain forecast for the rest of the week, I
thought I would bring the trailer under
the carport to afford it some protection
until the rain is over. There are already two places inside
where the carpet is wet and the lights in the top of the back
have filled with water.
It is quite a trick fitting the trailer into the carport. I have only
about six inches of clearance on either side and my side-view
mirrors are not really large enough to give me good vision on
the trailer. It took about fifteen minutes this time to back the
Once I had backed the trailer in, I decided to check out the
lights. The right rear light on the trailer has been on steady as
though the brake was on. It worked for a short period but quit
when I put on the rest of the lights. I was thinking that perhaps
it is simply a swapped wire. Brian told me he would check it
out, but there is no telling when He will get around to it and I
have a little time today, so I decided to look into it myself.
Having isolated the running lights and the left turn signal, I
was only left with two wires, so I decided to swap them to
see if this would correct my problem. When I switched them
I heard a pop. Great, I thought, I have blown a fuse. Not
thinking that this might be something more serious, I
continued to work. Very quickly however, I discovered just
how serious it was.
Smoke began to billow from the back of my Jeep Grand
Cherokee. I quickly reached over and disconnected the
lights. This did not help as the Jeep had now filled entirely
with smoke. Realizing at that point the ignition and lights
were on, I ran to the driver’s side of the car and turned off
the ignition and lights. I ran around to the back and opened
the hatch and thick black smoke
poured out of the Jeep.
Panic began to wrap its ugly
little fingers around my heart
as it became clear this was
more serious than a short.
Despite the fact that the wiring
was disconnected, and the
ignition was off, smoke rose
with greater intensity from
behind the panel in the driver’s
side rear of the Jeep. The
panel is screwed and clipped
on. As I looked a little more
closely, I could see light coming from the speaker vent on
the panel. The car was not just smoking. It was on fire!
Quickly in my head, I thought about getting a screwdriver to
remove the panel, but just as quickly dismissed it since I
thought the car would be beyond my ability to extinguish
the fire at that point.
I reached with my hands and pulled with all of my might to
dislodge the panel. It was open just enough I figured to put
out the fire. Looking around I spotted a towel on the floor
next to the panel. I shoved it in the crack between the wall
and the panel hoping to smother the fire. I didn’t work. I
almost caught the towel on fire instead.
Without thinking clearly I ran into the house, knocking over
the dogs who were waiting excitedly at the door and
running to the cabinet for a large cup. I found an old 40oz
7-11 cup which I filled with water and ran back out to the
jeep. The smoke was coming out from the car heavier and
darker by the time I arrived. I pulled on the panel and
splashed the water up on the fire. I might as well have
blown on it. Nothing! The fire was growing brighter.
At this point my options were racing through my mind.
Should I try to pull the car and trailer out into the middle
of the street and let them burn? Mind you, I have only
about four inches of clearance on either side of the Jeep
and I wasn’t sure if my nerves were steady enough to pull
out without getting the trailer caught. Should I get away?
After all the fire was burning just on the other side from
my fuel fill-up.
Visions of my car exploding, me dying, and my house
burning to the ground – all three days before Christmas
were becoming very real to me.
I could not afford to let the car burn so I headed for the
hose. I turned it on and raced back to the car and shoved
it between the panel and blasted it into the space. The
fire was finally extinguished and, after waiting to see that
it was truly out, I collapsed on the couch in the living
room. My hands were shaking. It could have been so bad.
About an hour later I was cleaning up and noticed a shiny
object on the ground about three feet away from the car.
It was my wedding ring. I have no idea how or when it
had come off. Fortunately, the damage to the car was not
severe and I escaped injury. God must have been looking
out for me. I hate to think what would have happened if
this had occurred on the freeway. The car would have
burned to the ground at a minimum.
I called Jeanette and relayed the whole situation to her.
Jeanette said I am no longer allowed to work on the
electrical on the trailer. I will not fight her on this one.
We were blessed that no one was injured. It could have
been so much worse. Please keep Ripples in your
prayers. It is our heart to reach out to children for God.
If you would like to help out our ministry, please contact
the Calvary the Brook office and let them know it is for