If I recall correctly the discovery of fire was one of the most helpful discoveries in the education of man, the invention of the wheel the second. There is a gigantic difference between fire and the wheel. Fire is a natural action to be discovered the wheel was invented.
According to reports from the early explorers, the grasses in the North American Plains were knee and waist deep before they were plowed under. With that much matter and nothing to eat it all, after a winter's covering of snow that would be a thick mat which would not allow anything to grow through, so how then did the grass survive? Fire! Not only were the plains renewed by fire, so were the forests. Scriptures state that gold is refined by fire. They also say that at the judgement man kinds' life accomplishments will be tried the same way. Now those could be metaphors, yet they carry a serious meaning.
When a fireman looks at a fire, all contents to him are fuel; not precious antiques, or papers, or trucks. The only thing that is important is to control the fire and then extinguish it. The only fuel the firemen at our fire did not go after were rounds of ammunition. When they started to pop, the fireman looked me up.
Before a fire the owner's possessions are valuable, some priceless. Yet after a fire, when the clean up begins the fire separates the important from the mundane. We clean our buildings and often times we don't really clean, we just reorganize putting less valuable items further back into the room, rafters, or attic. There they may eventually become fuel!
There were items I found that at one time I could not discard yet after the fire no longer had meaning. After just a quick thought they were tossed. They had served itheir purpose.But what survives does become important.
For example, in one pile of debris taken out by the firemen and tossed in the back yard, I found wrapped in wet newspaper a porcelain nativity scene, complete with animals, shepherds, wise men, Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, God incarnate, lying in a manger, not one arm or horn or finger was broken or cracked. It reminded me of a verse in Matthew 28.20 where Jesus said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world [garage]"!
Two things in closing. I did not realize how hard it is to get soot off of my hands, if so there, then the same everywhere else. No wonder the smell of a fire lingers so long, and finally how a fire draws out one's friends. I hope I am worthy so that my friends stick to me like the soot.