Monday, May 08, 2006

This would only happen to me...

So...I decided last night that I would go to sleep early--you know, get a "good night's rest." I crawled into bed at about 10pm and fell asleep almost immediately. It was the really good kind of sleep, the kind that you try to recreate on other nights. I'm a very hard sleeper, so by about midnight, I must have been deep under the spell of the "good sleep." This is also about the time when I literally jumped in bed as my good sleep was interuppted by an extremely loud noise. This was no alarm-clock-was-loud-and-starltled-me jump. It was a full-out Cosmo Kramer spaztic flailing. Then, all of the sudden, this deafening voice starts speaking in my loft, "There is a fire in the building. Please evacuate now..." I'm not sure what else he said or even if those were the accurate words, but at that point I wasn't really paying attention. This was the fire alarm...I sat up in bed, put my glasses on and immediately went into crisis mode. I grabbed my keys and cell phone, put on flip flops, and immediately left my apartment. I had this lingering moment between the bed and the flip flops where I just kind of stood there, wondering if I should take something with me. I feel like I've been asked that question before, "If you were ever in a fire, what's the one thing you would grab?" Well, since I have no pets or children, nothing else was important enough to waste time on. I didn't even think twice about it, I just left with my bedside lamp on and my "slow mix" on itunes still playing. I walked quickly but calmly down the hallway to the stairwell and flowed into the line of people pouring out of each floor. The stairwell reeked of smoke and something burning...the farther down we went, the stronger the smell. It was cloudy from the smoke and nobody was really talking--each resident was just following the person in front of them down to safety. I was in a group of about 20 people that were out first...several hundred people live in my building and obviously were either waiting to see if it was a false alarm, or were gathering up their prized possesions. About a minute after I stepped out of the building, the fire trucks began to arrive--one right after another until there were maybe 9 or 10 total, along with ambulences and other vehicles. The stoic streets of downtown were rudely interrupted by all of the chaos and noise and confusion. We were instructed to go across the street to stand, so we stood there, in the middle of downtown, on the street in our pajamas and watched everything unfold. The firefighters rolled out the hoses, filled them with water and stormed in with full gear, oxygen tanks, and axes. It was honestly just like watching a movie. We were all just standing there watching, nobody really saying anything, unsure of the fate of our homes and every single thing we owned.

Standing there was like a cross between a major disaster and a reality tv show waiting room. There was a woman with a cockatu on her shoulder, everyone's dogs were barking at each other and the firemen...it was all just very odd. Oh, and at about 3am, it started raining. Seriously...Well, long story short, it was an electrical fire on the 3rd floor of our 20 story building. I live on the 5th. It took 4 1/2 hours for the electric company and the fire department to put out the fire and deem the building safe enough for us to return home. We all trudged up the stairs in unison at 4:30 am through the sludge and water and smoke smell back to our concrete boxes of homes. I'm really glad I don't live on the 20th floor...

2 comments:

wendy said...

surely you have more to say about the woman with a cockatu ...

Emily said...

AMY!! How horrible! I'm sorry this happened to you. The day I bought renter's insurance my apt. building caught on fire too - NO JOKE! But I'm glad to hear all is well with the 5th floor - everything was ok with me too! :)