Monday, May 04, 2009

The Roof, The Roof, The Roof Is...

This fine morning in Ireland is a Bank Holiday Monday, a day of rest and relaxation, a day of Xboxing, movie watching, comic reading, and, yes, blogging. Claire rose early, requiring tea and Warcraft, while I rolled over in my warm bedsheets, stretching out to enjoy the full space of the bed I now had to myself.

And then the fire alarm went off.

Now, as anyone that lives in Ireland will tell you, when a fire alarm goes off, everyone looks around and says "Is that my phone?" or "Sure, there's no smoke, so there mustn't be fire." The alarm has gone off once before, and I met one of the other tenants who informed me that if it does start ringing, I can just hit reset. If it's a minor incident caused by cooking breakfast, as long as that apartment has already looked after it, it will be fine. The alarm will reset and I can return to my beloved Xbox. The system is the same one NASA uses for it's labs.

Just as I was reaching the hall, the fellow (let's call him Fred for the purpose of this tale) I had previously met was already there hitting reset. I smiled, turned and closed the door.

And then the fire alarm went off.

I grabbed a jumper. "I'll get dressed", Claire said. I went back into the hall and asked Fred if I could help. Apartment 22 was causing the problem, so I raced up the stairs to the fourth floor to see if everything was ok. There was definitely a smell of smoke in the hall, and there was no answer when I knocked. Drawing on years of watching American TV, I placed my hand flat on the door, but there was no heat. Oh yeah. I rock... er... Now what do I do? I started downstairs, filling Fred in by calling down the stairwell. Fred was already on the way up, having left someone else at the alarm controls. We headed to the roof garden and had a look down. A faint smell of smoke, but still nothing visible. Fred and I looked at each other. Time to evacuate.

Both of us walked back downstairs, stopping at each floor to alert the various apartments. Once back on the ground we waited for the arrival of the fire brigade. One of the other tenants in the block rang them, but was just hanging up when we heard the sirens outside. Fast reaction times! They arrived in, questioned one or two of us on the situation, and headed for the building. There must have been ten to fifteen fire-fighters. It was incredible. They were so well organised and meticulous, and everything was done perfectly, at least from where I stood. I enjoyed spotting some of the tech they had as well. As well as all the standard affair stuff, they had a somewhat bulky thermal vision camera. Cool.

They gained access to the apartment in question, and removed a bin bag that had been smouldering from a disposed still-hot cigarette. One of the people renting the apartment had shown up in the meantime, and got a stern lecture about how careless she had been from the lead fire-fighter.

In less than 45 minutes, everything was sorted. We were let re-enter the building, and Claire found her morning cup of tea sitting on the table, cold.

I gotta say, it was a good morning. No-one was hurt. Nothing was destroyed. The people in the block got to meet each other and say hi. It turned into somewhat of a nice experience, and it has encouraged me to consider organising a block barbecue at some point so that we can get to know each other, and will know who is in what apartment if this every happens again.

And now I'm awake. I haven't wasted my morning of freedom asleep in bed. I'm off to fire up the Xbox for a bit.

1 comment:

zinead said...

awesome way of not turning a blind eye. so few bother these days to knock on the door to see if the person inside is ok, good job!!!