Today at lunch, I went out to run errands. One of the errands was picking up Mauser’s meds, which have to be refrigerated. I dropped by the apartment to drop them off, and while I was there, I noticed someone’s smoke alarm was going off. I didn’t think anything of it, because I set ours off cooking pretty regularly.
But it was still going off once I’d finished everything and was ready to head out, so I thought, “I’ll go find out whose it is and help them turn it off, maybe they don’t know what to do.”
I ran all over our stupid building and finally find the apartment — on the third floor, pant pant!. I pounded on the door but nobody answered.
Then I smelled the smoke.
I pounded some more, again with no answer.
I’d left my cell in the car, so I headed back to my apartment to call the fire dept. On the way, I ran into one of my fellow residents, who was all, “what’s going on?” I asked if she could hear the smoke alarm, and she said she couldn’t. FAIL. Anyway, so I explained what I thought was happening, and she offered to stop by the main office on her way out and tell them, while I called the fire dept.
So I sprinted back to the apartment and called 911 and explained how I wasn’t sure there was a fire, but I didn’t know who else to call. The guy assured me that no, they were the right people, and promised to send a truck to check it out. I didn’t want to head back to work until I knew whether I needed to evacuate the cats or not, so I waited for the firetruck.
When they showed up, I showed them the apartment I’d found and they agreed it was the source of the smoke alarm. They said it smelled like a pot left on the stove or something. At this point, a guy from the main office showed up — without the master key. Sigh. The firefighters sent him back for the key and decided that since there was no visible fire or smoke, they’d wait for him to come back.
It took a while though, so they started talking about going in through the balcony using a ladder — they could see the glass door was open and the screen door mostly shut, so they figured they could get through there. But before they could start working on that, a runner came up with the keys.
This whole time, while watching the firefighters, I was chatting with a neighbor, who also hadn’t heard the alarm. We have incredibly good soundproofing in our apartment building — there’s a reason we can have Guitar Hero parties late into the night — and if you’re inside your apartment with everything closed up, you can hardly hear a damn thing that’s going on. This is nice in some ways, but holy cow, if I hadn’t been bringing stuff in, maybe nobody would have heard the smoke alarm!
It turned out that nobody was home in the apt, and they did indeed find a pot on the stove:
Phew! Day = saved!
The awesomest part: I finally headed out for work but checked in with the fire fighters to see if they needed anything from me, and to ask them to move their truck so I could get my car out. The following convo ensued:
Me: Are you guys going to move the truck now? Or could you, so I can go back to work?
FireFighter: Sure! Anything for the hero!
Me: Aw, anybody would’ve done it, I just called it in.
FF: No, most people wouldn’t have.
Me: That’s just sad.
FF: Yeah. So thanks! Good job!
So it’s official! I’m a hero!
I’m just so psyched that my nosiness and loathing of high pitched noises paid off so well. The fire fighters also told me that a small pot like that, left on the stove for too long can turn into a very dangerous kitchen fire which can then spread to the rest of the building. So it was very lucky that I checked things out! I almost didn’t, but I thought, “oh, it’ll only take a sec, and if they don’t know how to turn off their smoke alarm, I’ll be doing them a favor.” As it turned out, I did the whole building a favor! And I’m glad I did.
When I left, the main office folks were trying to reach the people who lease that apartment and the fire fighters had set up a fan to blow the smoke out of the apartment. So all’s well that ends well. Hopefully the folks in that apartment will be more careful with their cooking next time!