The apartment next to mine caught on fire this evening. I was worried at how long it took the fire department to start putting any water on it, but in the end, there’s no smoke or water damage to my place, so who am I to complain?
I had sat down to watch a little TV, feeling too icky from the sicky, to even play Warcraft. I hear someone tapping at my door, right about the time the smoke alarm goes off. I’m used to false alarms in this building, and figured it was a neighbor telling me they’d burnt some dinner, and sorry for the noise. But no, it’s someone telling me there is a fire in the apartment next to mine.
So, I make a quick look for the cat carrier, but don’t remember where I put it, so grab the cat in my coat, call 911, and get out of the building. By now, there is a small amount of smoke in the hallway. If I’d thought to look out my window, I would have seen the fire on the next deck over. I get out in such a hurry, once I’m down, I realize I don’t even have my phone or camera on me. I put the cat in my car, pull it back from under the building, just in case, and go out to wait for the fire people, with everyone else.
By now, you can see the flames on the deck in question, but there’s a tree blocking the best view from the sidewalk, so I move over to the parking lot of the apartment building next door, where I can get a wonderful view of the flames. When I mention that my apartment is the one next to me, all the neighbors start sympathizing, and joining me in wondering why there are 5 fire trucks out front by now, and still no water being sprayed anywhere. By now, you can see the flames have moved inside my neighbors apartment.
The first visible firefighter comes out on the deck one floor down, and we yell him in the right direction. Soon thereafter, water starts spraying out, and soon all the action bits are done with. Now it’s just the waiting for the all-clear, wondering how much they had to spray, how much smoke got in my unit.
Eventually, we get the all clear, and I make a quick trip up, without the cat yet, to see how things are. Amazingly, my place is still bone dry and smoke free. There isn’t even a mess near my door in the hallway. I thank the firemen I see, and go get my cat, and now we are here =p
I finally met the kids next door; they were sitting in the hall way waiting to see what happened in their unit itself.
I was very impressed with the quick and sincere sympathy from neighbors I’d never met, as we watched from the parking lot, and oddly grateful that this building doesn’t have sprinklers. If they had gone off, my computers would be all sorts of unhappy.
Thank goodness I don’t have to use my renter’s insurance, or my offsite backup service =)
UPDATE2: Turns out the cause was a cigarette butt can left on a foam deck chair, with a smoldering butt.