I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far.

Nemo : a Maine recap of the blizzard

I’m sharing my personal experience of the 2013 blizzard Nemo because I hope that I can help someone in the future.

{The square photographs are all captured by my iPhone.}

I woke up and headed to the 9am class at the Body Architect on Friday morning as I normally do and took this photo from my bedroom before I left.

Snow had already started to fall which wasn’t expected for a few hours.

Later that day, I found Leo perched watching the snow fall.  I made sure that I had the house heated really well in case we lost power and I filled the tub with water.  {Does anyone else do this or just my Mom and her best friend?}

I went to bed really early Friday night.

This was my view at 9pm.

At 4am, I was woken up from a deep sleep by the fire alarms going off in the house.  I live in a two family home.  The first floor is my friend Jaime and I’m on the second and third floors.  We’re connected at the front of our house by the front entrance common area and we also have a side entrance.  When I sat up in bed and saw how much snow was built up and realized I wasn’t smelling smoke, I texted Jaime and asked her if she was OK.  She said she needed help and I met her down in the front entrance.  She was trying to shut off the alarms but noticed the smell of gas coming from the basement.  I ran upstairs to get Leo’s jacket, leash and my coat and boots.  Jaime called 911.

When I looked out to our street, I couldn’t see the road and I wasn’t sure how anyone could get to us.  In just a few seconds two firetrucks arrived and plowed through the snow with no problem.  A whole team of firemen came into the house and at first we were told to stay in the common area.

The house was metered for carbon monoxide and we were asked what type of heat we had.  Jaime said gas and we were told to leave the house.  We stood outside for a minute and two firemen got a good laugh at how cute shivering Leo was.  He had his jacket on and I was holding him.  He was shaking like a leaf but as soon as one of the guys reached out to pet his head, he relaxed and I think he realized they were the good guys and he was safe. One fireman came around from the side of the house and said that our heating vents were completely blocked by snow.  Our house was filling with carbon monoxide and if we didn’t have alarms, we wouldn’t have woken up that morning.

The firemen offered us to sit in the fire truck.  We very much accepted that offer.  If you spent any amount of time outside in the storm, you know it was disgusting out.  In the truck, Jaime shouted, “It’s my BIRTHDAY!”  We laughed.  I mean, it wasn’t funny but I mean . . . she just almost went out the same day she came into this world.

The crew brought in fans, opened windows and doors.  After about 30 minutes, we were allowed to enter and we had to stay on the first floor because the second and third floors were still metering high.  The captain explained to us what happened, what could have happened and the symptoms you would feel.  Carbon monoxide is odorless so in our case we were smelling the back up of gas because our heating vents were blocked.  We still had power and our fire alarms are hard wired and backed up by battery.  If any of these systems had failed, we would not be here.  We were very lucky.  One of my first thoughts, when we were standing outside and we knew what was happening was . . . what if this is happening to people all over right now.  I felt helpless!  If this was happening to us, it could be happening to people all throughout New England.  We had NO clue that our heating vents were being blocked and most importantly, we had NO idea or warning that this could happen.

When we were allowed to be back in the house and close up the windows, we switched off making sure our vents stayed clear.  It wasn’t pleasant being outside but the vents were being covered every hour and a half so I considered it a do or die situation.    The storm still had about 6 hours to go so it wasn’t your average relaxing snow day.  We never lost power so I drained the tub.

At daylight, it was incredible to see the drifts that took over our driveway.  There is a Jeep and a sedan under that snow.

On Sunday, the weather was beautiful and we spent the morning digging out Jaime’s car and neighbors helped us dig out the entire driveway completely.  Such a whirlwind and physically, mentally and a little emotionally draining this visit was of Nemo.  When I came inside from shoveling, I found Leo in a sun spot, happy as can be.  Enjoying his little life here in the East End of Portland, Maine.

Please, please, please alarm your home with carbon monoxide and fire alarms.  Make sure your batteries are good and the system is functioning.  Tell everyone you know and please don’t ever forget this when another big storm hits.  Please.

xoxo . . .

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Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit the Melissa Mullen Photography blog. I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far. Please feel free to take a look around and introduce yourself by leaving a comment of affection at the bottom of any of the posts. Or drop me a note as I would love to hear from you.

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