Monday, November 30, 2009

Fire

The fire that gutted an apartment building in the city over the weekend has been labeled as "suspicious". It apparently started in a vacant suite in the building.

The Bag Lady's friend works the early shift at a local doughnut shop, and her hubby drove her to work on Saturday morning at 3:30 am. When he arrived back home, he went upstairs to their apartment to get ready to go to his own job. He was shaving when the fire alarm went off. Having worked as a volunteer fire fighter in the past, he immediately left his apartment and made his way downstairs. When he got to the second floor, he could smell smoke. When he realized that the other tenants were not responding to the alarm, he roused the caretaker and the two of them started banging on doors and ensured that everyone got out safely. The Bag Lady wonders how many people would have been injured or perhaps even killed if he hadn't been awake and alerted people to the danger.

The fire department responded and eventually thought they had the fire contained, so they allowed him to go back into the building to collect what he needed for his day on the job. He called his wife to tell her about the fire, but assured her that it was out and everything was okay. Off he went to work. Unbeknownst to all involved, the fire was still burning inside the walls, and eventually flared up again.

The Bag Lady's friend got an inkling that all was NOT well when someone from the fire department came into the doughnut shop and ordered coffee and doughnuts for 35 firefighters who were working on a blazing fire.

The Bag Lady's friends, along with about 40 other residents of the building, lost everything except the clothes on their backs. But no one died, and material things can be replaced. There has been a huge outpouring of support for the victims of the fire, and the management company has assured everyone that there will be places for them to live in other buildings owned by the company.

Get up now and check your smoke detectors, 'kay? If the smoke detectors had malfunctioned, things would have been far worse.

23 comments:

kcinnova said...

God bless your friend & her hubby. I shudder to think how much worse it would have been if he had not been up and alert at that early morning hour.

carla said...

so sad and scary.

Leah J. Utas said...

The tenants were lucky to have your friend in the building.

Good call to remind us to check out smoke alarms.

the Bag Lady said...

kcinnova - I don't think my friend realized when she told me what happened that her hubby should be recognized as a hero. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't think so, either! But 3:30 in the morning on a Saturday would be a time when an awful lot of people would be really sound asleep, especially if they had been celebrating Friday night!

Carla - it definitely is sad and scary!

dfLeah - I think so, too. He should be recognized for what he did (in my opinion, anyway!)

solarity said...

I've never rented a place that had smoke detectors, even where the law required them. Always installed my own. Perhaps I should have made a gift of some to the other tenants in those buildings. In spite of the sometimes weird and scary wiring in those old houses converted to apartments (17 outlets on one 15 amp circuit? 17!?!) we never had a fire.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

the Bag Lady said...

Mary Anne in Kentucky - it sounds like you were very lucky! (And smart, to have installed your own smoke detectors!)

Charlotte said...

How frightening! And yet, what a miracle that nobody was hurt. I'm so glad that those people are getting some help from the community - it would be so devastating to lose everything you own! Bless your friends for knowing what to do - sounds like they saved lives!

the Bag Lady said...

Charlotte - I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to lose everything! I think my friend was still in a little bit of shock when I talked to her. She went to work in the morning, just like any other morning, and hasn't even seen the building she lived in since!

And yes, it was lucky for the rest of the tenants that her hubby was up and knew enough to get everyone else out!

Hilary said...

A smoke detector (or 3) has long been my standard housewarming gift for folks. That's a good reminder, Baggie. My own detectors are getting old. I think it's time to replace them all.

Who, what and how would someone have access to an empty apartment at that hour?

JavaChick said...

Wow! So sorry for all the people who lost everything - I'm sure that would be quite a shock. But very glad to hear that no one was hurt!

bunnygirl said...

I'm glad to hear of all the support for those poor people. I hope no pets were lost. I'd never forgive myself if my pets died in a fire, even if it wasn't my fault. :(

Crabby McSlacker said...

Oh no! So sorry to hear about this, what an awful thing to happen! And you're so right about checking smoke detectors, thanks so much for the reminder.

messymimi said...

Two reminders: If you are renting, buy a smoke detector of your own, and, if you live in the US (not sure about Canada), make sure you have renter's insurance on the contents.

The owner of the complex is not allowed here to carry insurance on your contents, only required to insure their own property, the building itself.

I am glad no one was injured.

Geosomin said...

OK. I'll do that.
Wow, I'm glad everyone is OK, but it is so tragic that so much can dissappear so quickly like that.
I too think your friend is a hero. Without him, this would likely have been a much different story...

Sagan said...

That's really scary and I'm so glad that no one was hurt. That is wonderful that he went to alert everyone in the building- people never seem to respond to alarms because we always think its a drill or something. It's rather concerning.

Reb said...

Your friend certainly is a hero and you should tell the D-H-T. Good reminder about Smoke Detectors too.

When I lived in a bldg owned by the same company the fire alarms went off every couple of weeks - very frustrating to gather cats, walk down 7 flights and be told "false alarm".

Makes me wonder if that arsonist is the one that was here in Edmonton? It would help me sleep better, but s/he needs to be caught!

the Bag Lady said...

Hilary - they haven't, to my knowledge, released any information regarding whether they have confirmed it to be arson. (Mind you, I just now got home from work and haven't checked the news sites yet.)

JavaChick - It really is a miracle no one was hurt!

BG - I was relieved to hear that it was an "adults only - no pets allowed" building - so no children or pets were in danger!

Crabby - it's something I tend to let slide, but I will try to be more diligent about checking my own detectors!

Messymimi - we also have renter's insurance available in Canada, and our friends did have it. Apparently, not everyone in the building did, though, which is unfortunate.

Geo - I heard from an independent source (another friend who volunteers with Disaster Services, and was helping out on site) that a lot of people didn't even hear the alarm - it was the banging on the door that woke them! So yes, I think he IS a hero.

Sagan - the other problem in a situation like this is that people tend to panic. Fortunately, our friend did NOT panic, and everyone got out safely.

Reb - I have been a little worried about the arsonist in Edmonton, too. Whether this is the same person or not, they both need to be caught!

Gena said...

Thank goodness for people like your friend who do what they can to help others. I hope they find a place and get settled quickly and smoothly.

the Bag Lady said...

Gena - thanks! I hope so, too.

Scrumpy said...

I am so glad everyone got out okay. And although things can be replaced, I'm sure they are all very overwhelmed right now. Glad they have a great support system in you!

the Bag Lady said...

Scrumpy - I, too, am glad everyone got out safely.
The whole community has been very supportive.

CherylK said...

That's horrible! So happy nobody was hurt. Do they think it was arson??

the Bag Lady said...

Cheryl - they aren't saying absolutely, but they are calling it "suspicious", so yeah, I'm thinking arson.