Title: Fire in my Apartment Building

Date Occurred: April 29-30, 1993

Date Written: May 1, 1993

Date Prepared for Web Site: April 26, 2019

Written By: Joel T. Kant

Copyright (c) 2019 by Joel T. Kant


At about midnight, my studying was disturbed by the sound of sirens. I had been puzzling over how to solve a tricky problem in my laser course. Outside my window, I could see flashing red and blue lights. I wondered if it was some house on my street. I smelled smoke.

I put on my shoes and headed outside to see what was going on. Firefighters entered my building as I exited. They carried axes and various other equipment.

In front of my building were two gigantic firetrucks and two or three squad cars. One squad car, parked sideways, blocked the road. Various other residents stood outside. A woman, Myra, held her black cat while some guy held her gray cat. Various neighbors from other houses and buildings also stood outside to see what all the excitement was.

I asked the other residents what had happened. Vu told me that someone had lit the garbage can in the laundry room on fire. He had heard the smoke detector at his end of the hallway go off. He and another guy had gone to look at what was causing the smoke. Vu said that three-feet-high flames were damaging the air conditioner unit mounted above the garbage can.

Vu said that they went to get the fire hose mounted in the hallway to put out the fire. The hose didn't work; it wouldn't produce water. Vu and the other guy went and got pitchers to fill with water. They used these to pour water on the fire and put it out.

After they got the fire out, the firetrucks arrived. I never found out who started the fire or who called the fire department.

Vu kept repeating that the company that owned this building is going to be in big trouble about that hose not working.

Alan, who lives across the hall from me, was upset that the smoke detector at our end of the hall hadn't gone off.

With the fire obviously out, residents began heading back to their apartments. The firefighters and cops were still present, looking at the smoke detectors and wall-mounted firehose. From the third floor, somebody started blasting a stereo. The song started, "Burning down the house!"

In two months, my lease will be up. I won't be leasing from this company again! Living in a place like this could be hazardous to my health.


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