We had a tiny bit of excitement here that Chez Geek as I was getting home from work this evening. There was a fire in the apartment next door to ours. As you can see, the local fire fighting establishment turned out in force. Someone left a stove grate on all day. All came out well, but it provided a few tense, uncertain moments.
Here is how it played out. I first became aware of the problem when I got a call on my cell phone from Mrs. Geek. I was at the grocery store trying to find some mixed vegetables to make pasta primavera for dinner. Mrs. Geek needed the number for the apartment building manager because the smoke alarm in one of the apartments was going off. I gave her the number and thought "Fine. Someone probably burned their dinner. The manager will have this sorted out in no time." It's happened before.
I knew things were a little bit more serious when I was walking down the hall toward our apartment. The manager was getting the fire extinguisher and fire hose(!?!) out of the fire safety cabinet in the hallway. He was opening the door to the apartment next to ours, and the apartment was ceiling to floor smoke. He covered his face with his hand and the collar of his t-shirt, and another building resident did the same. They went in and out of the smoke filled apartment a couple times, returning to the hallway coughing.
Things got even more serious from there. Someone called 911. First the police arrived. After several tense minutes, and some preliminary searching to determine if anyone was inside the apartment, the police told the rest of us (who were standing around, watching the action) to leave the building. Mrs. Geek grabbed her notebook computer, our wedding album, and our honeymoon album (ever the scrapbooker she) and I grabbed a bag with my iPod and tried to make sure that all the computers in the house were shutdown.
A couple more minutes later, the fire department arrived... first one engine, then another, and another, and another.
A few firemen scrambled up to the apartment in question, led by the other building resident who followed the manager in for the initial survey. The front door to the building closed behind the first group, and I rushed forward to unlock it... because (as they put it) they "didn't want to break it down". Mrs. Geek, ever the school teacher with disaster training, then began moving people off the sidewalk in front of the building to the sidewalk across the street.
For several minutes, we watched the building nervously waiting to see what would happen next. I began to feel more relieved when I saw a fireman pull up the blinds in one of the windows of the apartment in question. A window was opened and smoke began pouring out. I knew from basic chemistry, that the last thing a fireman would do is purposely open a window if a fire was raging inside; that would only provide more fuel for the flames. A short while later, a police officer who had been directing traffic away from all the fire trucks informed us that it was a small fire from a stove grate and that we would be allowed back into our building as soon as the smoke was vented out of the building.
*whew* We need to get our renters insurance in order!
In the meanwhile, it seemed appropriate to get out my old tape copy of Deep Purple's Machine Head and play "Smoke On The Water". The album was featured on Classic Albums on VH1 Classic. The coincidence of events and lyrics was just too strong to ignore.
on 2007-05-11 at 9:32 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond