Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo, Scandals, and Houses on Fire

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Every year I think about doing NaBloPoMo, and every year I've had houseguests, work deadlines, or some other kind of domestic issue that would make it impossible. This year November nothing major is looming (famous last words I'm sure) so I've decided to take the plunge and commit - 30 posts in 30 days. I suspect it will be harder than it looks.
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So, jumping in...
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The Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is "scandalous". How appropriate, we had a bit of a minor scandal around here this week.
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There I was the other day, sitting at the table working, minding my own business, when I suddenly heard a lot of yelling over a megaphone coming from the street down below.
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I looked out my kitchen window (on the 8th floor) to see that there were FOUR firetrucks and an ambulance in my parking lot! Holy crap. I started to head downstairs to see what was happening but when the elevator door opened it was full of smoke and so was the stairwell, so I went to check on my neighbor's kids, who are watching their house while they're parents are away, and then promptly turned around and went back into my flat. I then called the head of the building committee who told me that a flat on the 2nd floor was in fact on fire! Yikes. (Scary and sad for them, but thank goodness it didn't spread beyond their own home, though I'd guess their neighbors' homes are smelling a bit barbecued today, since the hallways and lobby still reek of burned plastic. Hey *lightbulb moment*, maybe that's why I've been having all these breathing issues this week. Note to self: god you're dumb.)
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Oh, and buildings here are made of concrete, so fires are fairly rare, and when they do happen they rarely spread beyond the individual apartment. I saw that the people on the ground were calm and doing a lot of standing around, so I wasn't at all concerned that the fire would come up 6 stories. Also, when I called the fire department to ask whether they wanted me to move my car out of the way they didn't tell me I was in any danger or to evacuate.
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Just so you don't all think I'm insane for heading back inside.
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This is the sight that greeted me when I looked out my kitchen window. My car is the gray sedan that's blocked in by the ambulance. (Ignore the weird blurring in the photos - we had anti-pigeon netting put up a few weeks ago. It keeps the flying rats off of my laundry, but I really hate what it's done to the view.)

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(Here's a gratuitous shot of a cute firefighter, because why not?)
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So where's the scandal in all of this commotion? Well, years ago, before we bought our flat, the previous owner's kids apparently decided to play with fire, literally, and set half the patio and a nice chunk of the building's exterior on fire. As if that wasn't enough, a notice was posted on the message board in the lobby just a few weeks ago reminding people that throwing LIT CIGARETTE BUTTS off the balcony was in fact a fire hazard. (Gee, you think? Sad, but I'm guessing that someone felt a notice like that was necessary. Asshats. The throwers, not the notice-poster.) So, now that someone's apartment has in fact caught on fire (no, I don't know whose, though I'm sure I've been in the elevator with them at some point) everyone is wondering - are they the throwers, do they live below the throwers, was it negligence or some kind of innocent and unfortunate electrical malfunction. I admit, I'm not above a bit of curiosity, I too plan to ask the head of the tenants' committee, who happens to live next door, what he knows next time I see him, under the guise of "making sure the building's infrastructure hasn't been damaged" and "do they need anything", of course. I'm not completely without feeling or neighborly spirit.

And I think it's definitely time to sit my son down for a "what do you do if there's an emergency" discussion. Yikes...

So there you have it, a little excitement and a little scandal. Never a dull moment around here...

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Update: I just found out the fire started because they forgot a pot on the stove. Lovely.

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17 comments:

B. Roan said...

You handled that situation well. I would have panicked! BJ

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Only one cute firefighter? Geez. What's this world coming to?

You handled it well, babe. I'd have done exactly what you did on finding the elevator and stairs full of smoke.

anthonynorth said...

That's the way to do it - no panic - and plenty of time to snap a firefighter?
Priorities, please!!!! :-)

Sandier Pastures said...

D'ya think I gotta set a fire to see if the firemen here are cute as well?

gautami tripathy said...

You did good...

entangling

Jientje said...

Ewww that's scary!!

Oh, but I love the firefighter, he IS cute, mmmm! *giggles*

Jientje said...

Forgot to tell you, welcome on Nablopomo, I'm in as well!

"Sunshine" said...

I'm with B.J. If I were six floors above a fire, I think I'd be freaking out! Good job on keeping your calm during the situation, and good job telling the story! I'm amazed at how your coolness shows through your writing of such a dramatic story.

keithsramblings said...

I say, you were calm! I'd have been knotting bedsheets together and shinning down building in no time at all!

Maribeth said...

That's an interesting piece of news. I've always been pretty scared of fire!

Linda Jacobs said...

Good lucik with the writing this month! I did NaPoWriMo and couldn't believe how hard it was!

Enjoyed your post!

laughingatchaos said...

A fire six stories below me would have sent me over the edge. At least there was a cute fireman out of it. :)

linda may said...

Well scary stuff eh! A bit of local knowledge about your own building helps. I don't think the building construction methods in most places are so thoughtful.

anymommy said...

Yikes, a little excitement. Glad that all was well. You'll have to update us on the fire-causing scandal when you know more.

The pictures of Old Jaffa were amazing.

paisley said...

wow!!! i do not think i could have been as calm as you seemingly were!!!

haven't been here in a while robin... nice to see you again!!!!!!!

Janet said...

glad you and your family are ok!

Tammy said...

That is scary and I'm glad no one got hurt. Thanks for the shot of the hottie! lol