I haven’t written a new blog in a little while, and I logged onto my account the other day and realized that my last post was ironically about how our fire alarm in the building goes off all the time and we never leave because they’re always false alarms.
A couple weeks ago now, the fire alarm went off, once again at 2 or 3 am approximately, and we once again didn’t leave because the fire alarm allllways goes off. Finally the alarm was going off for such a long time we decided to get up and try to ignore the noise. Then there was a knock at our door. I answered, and it was our neighbour across the hall, pointing down the hallway which was now filled with smoke warning us to get out. I stammered a thank you (I think!), and turned to Justin and said “we have to get out”.
The best part of this frightening situation was probably realizing that Justin and I are actually a very good team. I immediately put Grover’s collar on, and then shoved Sweeney into his crate. We’ve both always had a hard time getting Sweeney in his crate (on vet days), but that night I picked him up and he went right on in willingly. It was also odd because he normally hides during the alarm, but didn’t this time. Then Justin asked what we would do with Fenton, since we only have the 1 cat crate. I said we should put him in the same crate, but Justin didn’t think that was a great idea, so I said ‘well, put him in a duffel bag?”. After a struggle, Fenton was zipped in the bag. I grabbed our coats, we shoved our boots on and I grabbed my purse and we opened the door to an even smokier still hallway.
I have learned so much about fire safety as an adult, and I still didn’t totally react appropriately in this situation (in retrospect). As we were leaving to enter the stairwell, I put my hand on the doorknob (mistake 1 – you’re supposed to use the outside of your hand so your palm isn’t burnt if you need to crawl), and it was warm, but not hot, so we continued. Part way down, I covered my mouth with my free hand (the other was carrying Sweeney’s crate), and could hear Justin coughing non stop behind me. He was carrying Grover and duffel bagged Fenton, so he had no free hands. All of a sudden I hear Justin swear and a commotion – Fenton had gotten out of his duffel bag. I quickly grab the duffel bag, and Justin grabs Fenton as we’re greeted by a firefighter with a breathing mask. A few more steps and we’re greeted by a building personnel member and ushered outside.
Once we were outside we were both (Justin and I) shaking, but relieved we were outside and had all the pets. Luckily, we clearly agree on getting the pets and getting out as our only priorities during this kind of a situation. We expressed our happiness that at this point, we’re safe, and we have home insurance.
Fenton was free of his duffel bag and I took him and he nuzzled into my neck for the hour or so we were outside. We could kind of see the commotion on the side of the building but still had no idea what was going on. I had thought the fire was on our floor, due to all the smoke, but it had actually started in a dumpster, and climber up onto a 2nd floor balcony and caught the apartment in there.
We eventually were able to get back into the building (which was good because it was cold out, especially after the adrenaline wore off). Our apartment was totally unaffected, and I kept regretting having left (in retrospect always), however when we saw the damage of the building the next day, I’m still glad we left.
Then again, just yesterday the fire alarm went off yet again at 4:30am. Both Justin and I felt very anxious waking up, but this time I thought, I’ll have to be careful before we leave – since last time it would have meant less smoke inhalation if we hadn’t left. I was watching avidly through the peep hole to our neighbours who were standing in the hallway watching down the hallway to where the commotion was. They didn’t leave so when the fire alarm finally went off, we hadn’t had to go out into the -25 degree weather with the pets (also, it reminded me that we should really get another crate, like ASAP!). Then about half an hour or so later, the power went off in our apartment. Hydro Toronto had been on our street lately, so I just thought it was an annoying coincidence. Then approximately half an hour after that I answered a knock on our door to a fireman letting me know they had turned off the power to our unit. I had to get up in half an hour, so I finally dozed off right before my alarm went off. Turns out the fire was on our floor (and it certainly smelled like it), and obviously it was something that needed the power to be turned off for. They were cleaning up the apartment as I was leaving for work.
After all this, along with the 3 thefts that have occured on our floor, as well as an assortment of other issues, I keep wondering if we should seriously consider moving. The other moral of this story – always make sure you have enough crates for your number of pets.