July 21, 2021

FIRE IN THE HOLE

Yesterday’s plans got derailed because of A FIRE IN THE BUILDING. oop.

Incredibly, there was no fire alarm. This is mindblowing. My roommate and I have spent the past year being super-diligent and coming outside at 2 am in our pajamas every time some jackass decides to pull the fire alarm for kicks. Now a real fire occurred and there was no alarm whatsoever. Later on, while we were all standing outside, I informed the deputy fire chief about this and he said they were already aware. I hope the village puts apartment management in hot water over this. (get it?? hot?? because there was a fire???)

To backtrack, here’s how it happened. During my afternoon nap, I was awoken by loud pounding on the door. “Hello??” I said, but there was no response. I could hear whoever-it-was pounding on nearby apartment doors. “Wrong apartment, maybe?” my roommate suggested. I went back to sleep.

A while later, the power went out. Annoying, but not unusual. My roommate’s phone was at 17%. He never charges the thing. Out the balcony window, I could see a fire truck, a police car, and an ambulance. Curious.

I thought I’d go out for a walk, because what else is there to do during a power outage? Stepping out into the hall, I noticed a smoky-sweet smell and water pooling on the floor near the elevators. No alarm, of course. I opened the stairwell door (after testing the doorknob and door surface; both were cool to the touch) and discovered more pooling water and black soot. I decided not to head down.

Later, more pounding on the apartment door. “Hello?” I said, and this time there was a response: “Fire department!!”

So that’s how we finally got evacuated from our apartment. As we exited, I looked up at the building and saw multiple apartment fronts completely charred black.

Once outside, we talked with other residents in the parking lot. They were like “oh my god, you just got out??” They confirmed there had been no alarms. One of them learned of the fire because her son saw the smoke from outside and called her to get out of there.

One resident said she’d been trying to organize residents to take legal action against our slumlords regarding poor apartment conditions. We have our share of problems (water outages, hot water outages, shoddily-installed balcony doors, maintenance requests going unfulfilled for weeks) but it sounds like other apartments have it even worse: hallways flooding, a literal waterfall outside someone’s door, mold damage. And of course the capstone complaint, no fire alarms in a fire. She said management was retaliating against her by refusing to renew her lease, but she was still fighting the good fight and encouraged us to compile a list of complaints and send it to her.

Maybe we do need a realtor?

Anyway, we stood out there for hours. At one point, word was that we’d be allowed back into our apartments in an hour. Nope. After nightfall, we were escorted back in briefly to grab possessions, but we couldn’t stay there for the night. My parents very graciously agreed to put us up for the night (Dad drove up; thank you Dad!!).

Written by Achaius

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