Thursday, December 15, 2011

Goodness, gracious, great HALLS of fire!

Chris Farley would have said, "Holy schnike!".
Liz Lemon would have yelled, "What the what?!".
Joey Lawrence would have shrieked, "Whoa".
Stewie would have muttered, "What the deuce?!".
God would have gasped, "Oh my me".
I think my reaction encompassed a little bit of each of these, with a few, "English!  English!" "Wait, what?!" "Get me the hell out of here!" and "Move it or lose it!"s thrown in.

Perhaps I should start from the beginning...

Here is the scene: T minus 5 hours ago
Me, asleep, our top floor apartment (I would say penthouse but I don't want to sound like a snob).  It's probably 10 am.  Before you judge me for hitting the snooze, I didn't fall asleep until somewhere around 4:30 am.  I'm still a little afraid of being alone at night and have a tough time sleeping soundly.

I awake to pounding at the front door.  Typically I would ignore it, but it continued for a solid 30 seconds and it sounded like somebody was trying to get in - so I threw on some pants and ran downstairs.  As I'm unlocking the deadbolt, I see smoke billowing in from under the door.  I open the door to find a frantic Polish man yelling and waving his arms around.  There is smoke everywhere.  I immediately start coughing.  He's shouting words I don't understand and I'm shouting, "English!  English!".  Then a crystal clear word leaves his lips, "FIRE!".

I run to our closet, throw on a jacket and shoes and head for the hallway.  The experienced traveler mixed with the semi-paranoid adult in me told me to go back and gather our valuables.  There was heaps of smoke, but no actual flames, so I took the extra 15 seconds to round up passports/money, wedding rings and our computer.

As I head for the stairway the dude tries to stop me and motions that I go back into my apartment.  "What?!" I scream.  "Stay?!".  "Tak, tak!" (yes, yes) he responds. 

Well it took me about 2 and a half seconds to decide I wasn't about to stay put on the top floor of a building that was on fire, so I busted through his weak barricade and bolted down the stairs.  All 300 of them. 

There was a ton of smoke, a zillion firemen and all I knew was that I wasn't about to kick the bucket without seeing the finale of this season's Dexter.  (note to self, perhaps you're not sleeping well because you're obsessed with a TV show based on people slicing each other up with hand saws)

Long story short, they were able to extinguish the flames after an hour or so.  Apparently somebody on the 4th floor lit their apartment on fire - get this, on purpose.  They said that everyone was allowed to go back in but being that smoke rises, our apartment is inhabitable at the moment.  I rode down the elevator with a CSI team.  No joke, they were actual crime scene investigators.  I wished them luck in getting to the bottom of it all and am now killing time at Starbucks.

I'm left feeling a little bit sketched about 2 things.  First, why did the dude want me to stay in my apartment?  Was he under the impression I owned a parachute or had strategically placed a trampoline under our balcony?  Second, why would somebody intentionally start a fire in their own apartment?  And if they did truly do it on purpose, can we agree an eviction notice is in order? 

At least I'll sleep soundly tonight, knowing a pyromaniac lives just 7 floors below me...

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