There’s a Fire, What Do You Take?

This question has absolutely crossed my mind over the years, but it never hit me until my husband and I had to truly ask ourselves that question on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.


The Pinehaven Fire broke out around 1pm Tuesday while I was at work. This fire started about a mile from where we and many of our friends live. Texts started swarming between our friends in the ‘509 (zip code 89509) and before we knew it the fires jumped McCarran and over to our side of the neighborhood. Homes nearby were threatened and street by street, neighbors were being evacuated. While listening to the police scanner, my husband, began packing our belongings. Calls back and forth between us made me realize we hypothetically talked about a few things we would grab in case of an emergency, but we didn’t have a fully developed plan. Important items were in different locations and all I can think about was “grab my engagement/wedding rings!” I wear a simple gold band at work so I can keep my rings safe. I started thinking about all the other keepsake items to grab, especially from our wedding, and I wanted to share in this post what I have learned from this experience…

  • Stay calm! After receiving many calls from panicked friends wanting to ensure our safety, I realized who I am in this type of situation – I am calm on the outside while on the inside I am suppressing all other emotions to stay focused.
  • Have a plan! We thought we had a plan until we had to put it into action. My husband and I are going to create a list of items to bring with us in case of emergency and we are looking into purchasing a fireproof “Go” Bag. Don’t forget to add family pictures, wedding pictures and irreplaceable keepsake items to your list! Below is the painting my husband’s mom painted for us for our wedding. I didn’t even think of this and I would be absolutely heartbroken if I lost this painting. Thankful my husband was home to grab this and many items I overlooked in my head.
  • Listen to the local police scanner for immediate updates! This is the one we used: Broadcastify. This was very helpful in my opinion. We were able to hear who is being evacuated and what is happening before it hit the news outlets.

We are safe! Our house and nearby neighbors are all safe and we did not have to evacuate. Our friends only two blocks away experienced some damage to the side of their home and lots of damage to their backyard. Their home overlooks the canyon where the fire was roaring and it came right up to their fence, scorching it, before firefighters were able to put it out. Others are not so lucky…


The O’Brien family and owner of local boutique, The Lark, has devastatingly lost their home. This family has lost their home twice in 19 months and Mimi is 37 weeks pregnant! We are asking the community to come together to help this family! Their GoFundMe page is linked here.

The Christi family is another family who lost their home! Their GoFundMe page is linked here.

If you’re reading this and would like to share other families who need the community’s help, PLEASE SHARE! I would be happy to add them to this story.

Let’s continue to stay positive and safe during these crazy, uncertain times!

Published by Mindy Haffke

Marriage Officiant located in Reno, NV helping couples through the post process of engagement!

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