I’ve always heard half of the story growing up, but today, on the last day that I’m spending with my dad and mom, they tell me the whole story.

Before I could remember, in Chicago, when my dad was in Dental school at UIC (my brother’s future grad school), there was a fire in the apartment/dorms (Campus Green) where my dad, mom, my brother, my unborn twin sisters, and I lived. We lived on the eleventh floor.

Supposedly an angry boyfriend out to kill her girlfriend decided to poor gasoline in the hallway of the eleventh floor and torch the place.

Ignoring my mother’s pregnant gasoline smelling nose, my father later, investigating the smoke creeping from under the door, was greeted with a face full of flames that burned his face, taking his hair and eyebrows off. He would later have blisters that supposedly made my brother cry.

Our neighbors across the hall weren’t so lucky. With flames that entered their apartment and living area, they stripped down to their bare ‘minimums’. The apartment of 3 siblings, 2 sisters and a brother eventually used bed sheets to help dangle themselves over the edge of their balcony, as flames would later rise out of their balcony door and attack the apartment above them. Rescue came too late, as the two sisters, hanging on for their lives, fell to their death, 11 stories down.

My family was very lucky. The fire did not enter our living area. And the firemen did come. As we stood on our balcony, the rescue ladder only stretched to the 9th floor. My dad says the fireman told him to toss my brother and I down to them and they would catch us!

He didn’t.

After that, my brother was scared to go back into Campus Green after that. And who could blame him?

And the girl whose angry boyfriend lit the entire place up wasn’t even in the building.

The angry boyfriend whose girlfriend failed to die was turned in by his own dad- a chicago police officer.