Monday, June 03, 2013

Thrill of the Night

AftermathThere are drawbacks to living in close proximity to a whole big bunch of folks. Usually they run to the crowded subways, loud car stereos, and interesting smells emanating from weird places. They can, however, be more dangerous than that.

About three this morning I woke up because I smelled one of those smells. It happens. In this neighborhood we've even had the occasional mystery smell that finally gets tracked down miles away in a different town. I didn't think it was anything until I heard the sirens. So, despite not wearing much, I got up and looked out the window and it turned out that the firefighters were coming into my building. At that point it seemed prudent to pinpoint the problem. My first thought was, "Shit! I better check to be sure it's not my apartment!" It wasn't. I then called the security booth where an extremely flustered young man responded to my query about which apartment they were investigating with, "I don't know, ma'am! I have a lot of paperwork to fill out!" I hung up in him. He didn't seem super good in a crisis. I still didn't find this a pants-worthy problem but when I went to check and see if the firefighters were, perhaps, leaving the building I saw two of them were and they were doing it at a run. That slammed a thumb on my panic button.

The good part about this whole thing is that it turns out I have a basic plan for evacuation and I can execute it under pressure. The animals were still unaware of the excitement which worked to my advantage. The fact that I'm lazy and still had two cat carriers sitting on the floor in the living room so I didn't have to alert anyone to my scheme was also a plus.  I snuck up on one cat and popped her in a carrier, only having to shove the top of her head a couple of times. I fished the other one out from under the bed and jammed him in the other carrier while quietly blessing myself for recently cutting his nails. Then I snapped the leash on the dog. He was extremely interested by that point, it's not every day we get ready for a walk at 3:30 in the goddamned morning. After that was accomplished I actually put pants on and a shirt and socks and shoes. I sat on my bed, sneakers unlaced and phone charging, watching the action which I could now see out my window.

Meanwhile the firefighters had broken out the window, used a saw, walked a hose across the entire courtyard and up four flights of stairs. It's hard to tell the difference between the flicker of flames and the flashing of the red emergency locators they wear. Pretty sure I was seeing only the latter. Eventually they jammed a charred mattress out the window. Then they pried off the entire window frame and chucked that on top. A little more breaking glass. A bunch of tromping boots. At least 4 other trucks full of firefighters watching from below and then...nothing.

The grapevine has been working overtime all day, of course. The tenant and her two cats were taken in by neighbors. Was she smoking in bed or was it electrical? Should we be mad at her or at the management? Who can we blame? I'm actually surprised that there hasn't been a bunch of flak about the fact that the glass and mattress are still out on the roof. While I'm certainly a sneering anti-smoker and if she endangered my life by doing something that stupid I will have a piece of my mind reserved to hand her and if the wiring is to blame I will absolutely light my torch and join the mob there's no proof and all is actually well that ends well.

Everything is fine here. We're just tired. And researching co-op insurance.


  1. So glad to hear all's well. (Sorry it looked iffy in the wee hours, though!)

  2. Julie6:10 PM

    Glad it got put out quickly.
    Also glad you were able to wrangle 3 pets so quickly in the middle of the night in the middle of a justifiable panic.
    There should be a merit badge for that.

  3. okay, that's a little too much excitement.

  4. Wow!!Maybe I need to look into the condo insurance...just to be on the safe side. Glad you and your furry friends are all ok.

  5. glad everyone's safe!!