Watchman's Cry Struck with Fire! - Update
Nathan Leal - December 8, 2011

Initial Fire Report Dec. 7, 2011 – Read

The House for our sheep burning! The sheep escaped unharmed!


Donna and I would like to extend our utmost thanks for your prayers, your encouragement and your gifts of support during this time. It means more than words can say. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We have been spending the last two days, dealing with the mess of the recent fire here on our property.

But through it all, we can feel the peace and presence of God in a very unique and special way. It is a peace that is just there. I suppose that if I did not have God's supernatural peace right now, my flesh would want to be "stressing out!"

But instead of stressing, I do have peace! I know that your prayers have a lot to do with it, so I thank you.

The What If's?

In trying to process this event, Donna and I have spent a lot of time discussing the "what if's."

One the scariest ones that we talked about was..."What if we discovered the blaze at an earlier point before it had spread?"

I think that my 18 year old would have tried to save the family mini-van by trying to drive it out of the building.

The scary "what if" was; "what if" he had tried to drive it out but was then caught in the vehicle when the roof of the building collapsed, or "what if" he was in the car when it ignited?

I say this because my 18 year old son has an old pick up truck that he moved away from the burning building when we discovered the fire. I did not know he was doing this because I had gone into the house to get my glasses!

The scary thing about him doing this, was his parked truck was only about 30 feet away from the burning building! It had been parked in front of the right side of the burning building before he moved it!

To put this into perspective, my old truck that burned up was only about 20 feet away while his was about 10 feet further!

This is the first time that I have been this close to such an intense fire. From the edge of our house (fifty to sixty feet away) the heat was incredible. The continuous thermal blast was similar to what your face feels when you open the door of a hot oven!

My son's truck was closer to the fire than our house. It was sitting in the heat zone that was hundreds of degrees waiting to ignite. This is the scenario that he ran into to save his "silly" truck.

As you can see in the image below, the radiant heat of the fire had already reached my truck on the left and caught it on fire. My son's old pick up was in front of the right side of the burning building. In the image below, he had just moved it!

Image below: The fire had spread to my old pick up that has a snow plow on it. My son's truck was only about 10 feet further from the fire than my PickUp Truck as seen below!

I asked him why he did it?

His answer, "I was just trying to save it!"

I responded, "Weren't you worried that it was dangerous?"

He said that he did not think of the danger at the time, he was full of adrenaline!

The "what if" has me humbly thanking God for His protection!


Donna and I have been making an effort to talk to our children about the fire. We can see that they are all traumatized. So we are trying to take extra time to talk to them about it.

I think that it is helping them because they are all sharing with us how scared they felt, the night of the blaze.

That night they slept in the living room together. They were afraid that the fire was going to start back up. This was a legitimate threat because the hay kept smoldering all night long.

In fact, the Fire Chief said, keep checking it because it is going to keep smoldering! And boy was he correct!

I did not get any sleep Tuesday night. I stayed awake all night dealing with the hay "flare ups." I put out about 10 small flare ups from about 2 am to 6 am.

Sunrise came, the view reminded me of an old Hollywood King Arthur movie after the peasant village has been torched and razed. And the only remains are rubble and smoldering debris!

The sheep would be hungry. I took my son's "rescued" old pick up to get a bale of hay for them. I did not want to feed them the smokey wet hay!

For most of the next day, I was a Zombie from lack of sleep. (Side note - I do not know how ER doctors can do this!)

I also do not know how I lasted as long as I did without sleep. It had to be a combination of prayer and adrenaline! I finally took a nap later in the day.

Fire in the night!

A Firefighter dousing our family Car with water the night of the blaze!

Next Day Aftermath:

The Mommy van!

In the image above, you can see what's left of the building behind the van.

Burnt up hay is spread everywhere. Why?

During the fire, the Fire Dept had to spread the hay on the ground and water it down. Apparently, burning hay is very hard to put out! The Chief asked me if I knew anyone with a tractor. I knew my neighbor had one so I called him on the phone. He did not answer! He was probably in bed!

His grandmother is also my neighbor so I went to her house and banged on the door that night.

She got out of bed and answered the door...(Praise God!) We briefly talked.

She called him and told him of the dilemma. He graciously got dressed and moved hay for us with his John Deer tractor while the firemen sprayed water on it, until past 1 am. (God Bless him!)

I now have a pile of burnt / smoke filled hay all over the yard! It will take about two to three days for all of the hot spots to go out!

My next challenge. What to do with all of this ruined hay? There are six tons of it spread all over the drive! An unexpected be sure!


I would like to share about the insurance situation, but before I do, I want to say this:

Yes, all of these things are just stuff, and we can live without them.

But to function as a family, there are things that are a part of rural country living. ie - gathering eggs from the chickens, working the garden, tending to the animals, building and repairs.

The fire burned many of the tools and supplies to do these things.

While we do have some insurance, I was told by the adjusters today that it appears the insurance will not cover all of the loss here at our little farm.

Apparently, there is a limit on tools and equipment. (This is one of those fine print/ legal mumbo-jumbo things on the policy!)

The next hurdle will be to deal with the insurance company. I appreciate your prayers in this regard.

I do not know how fair they will be with the family van. It was 11 years old; an old Chrysler Mini-van. We should know in a few days.

1. At this point, the old pick-up truck with the snow plow was not covered. I will not know until Monday, but the guy on the phone said, "He did not think so!" ( Note - This was my old 1978 GMC pickup with a snow plow blade on it that is burning in the photo.) For those of you in the south, snow plows are attachments made for trucks that are used to clear driveways and country roads after a snowstorm. A common occurrence here in Idaho.

So please pray that somehow it will be covered!

2. The 6 tons of hay - loss!

3. Chicken Building - loss!

4. 20' x 13' sheep building addition - loss. (The disappointment of this one is that we just finished building this structure three weeks ago. The whole family worked to build it!)

The main building had some insurance on it, but it appears that it also has limits, (We will keep you updated on the outcome.)

There are many misc. items that we can't even remember! At this point, we are not to disturb the scene of the fire, until after inspection by the adjusters. (Scheduled for this coming Monday.) So in the mean time, we are in limbo with this mess! They said make a list but don't touch. This is hard to do when burnt HAY is covering everything

Note* - I know that not everything is going to be replaced. I have already told God, that it is okay because my family is alive and He is in charge.

...The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away...Blessed be the name of the Lord!

God bless all of you that have extended your loving help and prayers!

In Christ,
Nathan Leal

December 8, 2011





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