When I came home from work tonight, I noticed a strange burning smell. It got stronger as I walked towards my apartment, and soon I heard a smoke detector going off. I walked around a bit to pinpoint the source, and sure enough I found an apartment that had a funny burning smell (no smoke or flames).
I knew I had to do something but wasn’t sure what the appropriate course of action was, so I called Dave and asked him to txt me the number of the San Diego fire department. But that number only works during business hours, so I decided I had no choice to go ahead and dial 911 (which I’ve never had to do before). I told the dispatcher what was going on, and just a few minutes later there were SIX fire trucks pulling up. I didn’t say it was an emergency when the 911 system prompted me and told the dispatcher there wasn’t even any smoke, but apparently the fire department doesn’t mess around.
Turns out there had been a pot left on the stove, so they turned it off, squirted some stuff to help “eat” the smoke, and vented the apartment out with a fairly big gas powered fan. No harm done.
What bothers me though, is that while talking with the other neighbors who came to see what was going on, a couple of them had heard the alarm and smelled smoke, but didn’t take action. Middle-aged, seemingly intelligent adults. Now I admit I didn’t know exactly what to do at first, but at least I knew not to ignore it.
Tomorrow I’m going to mention this incident to the onsite manager, and ask that they send out a flyer that outlines who to call in different kinds of situations, what constitutes an emergency, list of phone numbers, etc. I used to have recurring nightmares of my house burning down when I was a kid, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to live in a complex where neighbors are too uneducated or too apathetic to show stewardship for the building we all share.
PS: What’s foreshadowingly creepy is that I just remembered that I was listening to NPR’s Performance Today show on the drive home, which happened to be a fire-themed episode (and had some great covers of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire).