02 August 2011

Fire!

No joke actually.

After yesterdays mammoth flight to Chimoio we had planned having an easier day today. Well that all ended at 05:30 when we were alerted to a fire in the main house at Mercy Air. We rushed round to find the house filled with acrid smoke and the living room ceiling on fire. On top of this the electricity had tripped so inside and out was pitch black with the only light being the flames.

Guests had made a fire in the fireplace the previous evening and we suspect that some soot in the chimney had ignited and found its way through gaps in the mortar and then set light to old bee hive and rats nest material in the roof, which had then spread along the eves and up into other parts of the roof.

The back of the main house is almost completely made of wood but fortunately the fire was restricted by the small space between the ceiling and the tin roof. This hadn't stopped it spreading as such, but it had prevented it getting well out of control.

We knew the fire brigade wouldn't come out to us so we had to make our own plan. This amounted to stringing a line of garden hoses together to extinguish the visible flames inside. After that the darkness worked in our favour as we could then see additional flames flickering through other small gaps. This now meant that we had to get a ladder and axe and break down other parts of the ceiling and walls to get access to these different areas.

All in all it took us about an hour to bring things under control and make sure everything was well and truly out. This also included taking some of the corrugated roof sheets off.
This is the scene from inside after it got light.
All the black bit in the photo above was ablaze when we first arrived.

So, not a good day at all, but one which we realise could have ended far far worse if it hadn't been for God's protection.

So, not a good day at all, but one which we realise could have ended far far worse if it hadn't been for God's protection.

One week on from the fire and a couple of pics to show progress on the reconstruction. The first was after the corrugated sheets had been taken off showing the fire damaged portions.
And the second, a day later, when the internal tongue and groove had been removed.Mercy Air staff and volunteers are doing the work as there was no buildings insurance and we expect to complete it in about a weeks time.


Mercy Air Team

Quick Trip to Chimoio

The title of this entry is a bit misleading as you can never really have a quick trip to Chimoio. If you drive it takes you at least two full days and even if you fly it's about 3h30. If you fly there and back in a day it requires getting up very early and just making it back before dark. This was the case yesterday.

We flew three Canadian mechanics up to ASAM in Chimoio, the same place Mercy Air is building a remote base. We flew Rick up in March as he was preparing to start a mechanic school and build a workshop to help service the mission vehicles (all on his site at http://mercytechmission.com and his blog at: http://mydustyshoes.blogspot.com/2011/07/leaving-on-jet-plane.html).

This time he went with two friends, Todd and Ed who were also instructors and technicians and they will stay for up to a month. They spent a few days at Mercy Air prior to traveling up, which gave them the chance to do some boy shopping for socket sets, screwdrivers and other tools to equip the workshop. Despite the simplicity of the task, this still took a whole morning!

At the risk of including another, 'here's us on the way up' type photo, what else can we take a pic of to grab your attention and save this being a blog entry full of just words?
So, here's us on the way up!

Mercy Air Team

OK. We wrote this as soon as we got back and now the team have posted some photos on the net, so, we're sure they won't mind if we plagiarise their efforts and include them below.
The boys at Vilanculos, our port of entry into Moz.

Some of the tools and manuals they took up with them.

Their home for the next month and the same tents we usually stay in when we go up there.
The Training Centre well on its way to completion.

The first motor mechanic class in Chimoio.

Putting their new found knowledge into practice.

Mercy Air team