Tuesday, March 24, 2009


When our building's smoke alarm went off, my husband poked his head out into the hallway to determine whether it was a real emergency. Since he didn't smell or hear anything out of the ordinary he came back inside. A few minutes later I heard one of our neighbors say, "I hope everybody is out." Suddenly, our hall was filled with a thin, greyish smoke.

Determining what to take with you isn't easy when you're in panic mode. I had the presence of mind to grab my pocketbook, his wallet, cell phones and keys. Hubby grabbed a backpack and filled it with two laptops, our tax folder and a business valise. Obviously, we were feeling more practical than sentimental.

All I kept thinking was, "I'm glad we have renter's insurance."

It's a helpless feeling to be standing out on the lawn not knowing if your life is about to be turned upside down. The arrival of seven fire trucks eased the anxiety somewhat but fire still has a way of flaring up and out of control.

It turns out, the neighbor who moved in last week left a covered pot full of oil on the stove. If he wanted to meet the other tenants he should have just thrown a party.

After about an hour we were let back inside. Our place smells terrible not at all like "BBQ" as our eight-year-old neighbor determined. We're running the air conditioners and nearly emptying a can of Oust.

The alarms keeps going off so I'm still at Defcon Charlie and will probably remain that way until tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be sleeping fully clothed tonight.


Pearl said...

A covered pot full of oil. With a flame under it?! Yikes! I can only imagine what that smells like.

How big do they make baking soda containers?!


Traci Skene said...

I once put out a toaster fire with baking soda. It really works.

A reporter just called to interview us about the fire. I don't think my low-key husband gave him the quotes he was looking for.

BTW, the photo was taken well after we were let back into our apartment and retrieved our camera. Our fire department is almost all volunteer so it seems they used this incident as a training exercise as well.