I tell ya, my life in the District so far has been quite entertaining. There really is never a dull moment. So I have been a bit under the weather all week, so last night I call it quits early and head home at a relatively decent hour. By decent I mean I am in bed by 2am. At about 3:30am, I am woken up by a fire alarm in our building. Yes, I was able to hear the fire alarm over my fan, so that is a good thing [for those of you who don’t know, I sleep with a fan which functions as white noise to block out sudden noises so that I can sleep peacefully through the night…long story]. I lay in bed for a while thinking someone must have just pulled it as a joke, because that has never happened before and when is there ever a fire? Thinking it’ll stop, naturally it doesn’t, so I figure maybe I should just see what’s going on. I’m taking my sweet time peeing when I hear this loud pounding on my door. Okay, that must mean I should get out of the apartment. Now I am freaking out, so literally did not flush the toilet, am running to my door, somehow think to grab my purse (no phone..I did feel lost for a while), throw on some flip flops and grab the nearest item of clothing near the door so that I am not freezing to death outside. Nonetheless, I was freezing outside because it had to be a good 35 degrees out there and I am in bright pink pajama pants, flip flops, and a measely small green sweater (maybe I should have selected a better matching alternative on my way out). As I leave my apartment, I smell smoke! At this point I’m like running outside, half expecting to see raging flames on my way down. People are gradually making their way outside, everyone clearly discombobulated and wondering what is going on. The condo association manager asks if anyone called the fire department. Um, noooo. Isn’t that something that should automatically happen if the fire alarm goes off? At this point the thing is loud as heck and has been going off for a good five minutes at least.
So the fire department shows up almost immediately after he calls, and it’s quite the scene. Three fire trucks on my street alone, and on the corner they are blocking traffic on the main street with a few trucks, cop cars, etc. I have been through a few fire alarms in my time, but never before have I actually seen the firefighters enter the building after hooking up the water hose to the fire hydrant with all of their gear and carrying the hose. I’m thinking this is no joke and thankful I got the heck out of there when I did. Next thing I know, they are extending a ladder to the top of the building from one of the fire trucks. Really? Okayyyy. I think I literally said that through chattering teeth to a fellow resident. If nothing else, we got to meet everyone else who lives in the building.
It’s about 20 minutes and we’re still outside with this scene unfolding. The firefighters then start asking who lives in a certain apartment, then ask everyone who is on the 3rd floor – hmm that’s me – to come inside. Thinking I’m entering a raging inferno at this point, I reluctantly go inside. Smoke smell is still there. Firefighter asks to enter my apartment so I let him in and he checks around and confirms my apartment is not the culprit. The people in the two apartments immediately next to me are not home, so the manager gets the keys so they don’t have to break down the door. The one to the left is clear. The one to the right has this maniacical dog barking profusely (I am reallllly not a fan of this dog to say the least…and while we’re at it, can I bitch a bit about why she has not one but two huge dogs living in a studio apartment that is smaller than mine?). The firefighters are actually scared to go inside because of this. They are not scared of raging flames, but they are scared of these dogs. I found this interesting.
Long story short, these firefighters are taking their sweet time and clearly are not concerned. The head chief informs us that he believes the smell is actually the smell of a heater that has just been turned on after not having been turned on in a while. This is a good point. I grasp this concept only because I too turned on the heater in my apartment a month or two ago only to smell this same stench. Granted it did not trigger the fire alarm in my apartment, let alone the whole building, and it did not stink up the halls, but he has a good point. He is the expert and says he is 100% sure that this is the cause, so I guess I am forced to go with that explanation. However, no one can determine which apartment this stench is coming from, which makes me mildly concerned. I go back to bed but am so freaked out that I try to sleep with the light on for a while, which wasn’t happening. Gradually the scare factor subsides but I decide not to turn my fan back on for fear of missing another alarm if it happens to go off. No good. The damn dog wakes me up at 7am. The girl still is not home? Seriously? Who leaves their dog overnight? People are nuts. Anyway, so much for getting a good night’s sleep.