My attempt to sleep in late today was violently disturbed by a loud alarm ringing like crazy outside my apartment. Discombobulated, I struggled to make sense of the situation for a a few seconds until finally my well trained instinct, honed from hundreds of fire drills performed back through my school days, finally kicked in......... "HOLY SHIT THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE!" was my very next thought.
I sprang out of bed and threw on some clothes, since running down the stairways dressed like an Emporio Armani underwear model would be just a bit too scandalous for the late morning. Then it occurred to me that I had a cat to save as well my own skin. Plus, contrary to every fireman's advice ever given to me, I knew I needed to save some irreplaceables. So I grabbed the nearest suitcase, tossed in my laptop and all my harddrives, figuring that in the worst case scenario that the whole building goes up, I would at least have saved some electronic form of some of my art work.
Then I picked up my cat and tried the main door way. As I walked out, the smell of smoke was only less shocking than the loud blast from the alarm, which freaked the f*ck out of my cat. He clawed his way out of my arms and ran full speed to the other side of the apartment to escape the noise. I knew that would only complicate things. So I went for the back staircase instead, but I needed a way to transport my cat easily, since my duffle bag style cat carrier is still in New York and the crate that I have is not making it down 23 flights of steps in my arms. So stuffed my cat into a shopping bag and started running down the stairs.
Luckily no smell of smoke down this alternate staircase, but my cat wasn't the most cooperative and the suitcase of harddrives I was carrying wasn't the easiest to lug down the steps when you're running for your life. I did find it a little disconcerting that I didn't run into anyone coming out of their apartments as I ventured down. Had they all made it out already? Was I potentially the last guy in who would get burnt to a crisp? Or was I the first one out? Or was I just the only guy in the building who was sleeping in late? Was I the only one with nothing particularly better to do? The questions were numerous and only made the burden of carrying a 20 lbs. cat and ? lbs of hardware more burdensome.
Finally I made it out to see few of my fellow building residents looking up at the building as firemen scurried about. Until this point I had no photographic evidence of what transpired, because I figure I'd wait to make sure a burning chunk of the building wasn't going to fall on my head before going "camera mode." When all seemed relatively not out of control, I finally took these shots.
Firemen readying to enter the building.
The firetruck down the block.
My building. Thankfully no explosions or out of control flames to be seen.
Me trying to keep a freaked out cat as calm as possible.
A better look at the shopping bag that I had to carry my cat out in.
After a while of waiting around and getting reacquainted with some of my neighbors, the fire brigade finally gave the all clear. Seems just an isolated fire in one of the apartments, luckily it wasn't my apartment. So all is well. I had the scare of my life and a little exercise. And my cat got the scare of his life and a little fresh air.
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