The roomie and I were lounging around the house this morning waking up, showering, checking email, shoving yogurt down our throats, painting our toenails – you know, the usual weekend morning stuff. And then it happened. An extremely loud and obnoxious noise was emanating from the hallway just outside our door.
“Is that the fire alarm?” I asked.
“Yes. This is the third time in the past couple of weeks,” he answered.
The roomie works different hours than myself, so he is often home during the daytime hours when I’m away at work. Subsequently, he gets to see more of the action in the building.
We didn’t put on clothes and shoes and head for the door. Instead we opted for the balcony.
“Wanna make a bet on how long it takes them to get here? I’m guessing two to three minutes, tops,” Roomie challenged.
I countered, “No way. At least five minutes.”
Not 20 seconds later we heard the sirens, and by 30 seconds past our challenge, there were two fire trucks in front of our building and more on the way. We watched from our balcony high above as the firefighters in full gear took a very lasse faire approach in responding to the alarm. At their own pace they hopped out of the truck and proceeded to the rear to grab some equipment, and then almost lazily walked towards the main entrance of the building.
In my astonishment I exclaimed, “How in the hell did they get here so fast?”
“They’re here within two minutes every time. I don’t know how they do it, but they must just be sitting at the fire station in anticipation.”
We watched for a few minutes, went to the bathroom to examine the other side of the building. Saw a few of the older residents crossing the street like you’re supposed to do in a fire. Then we went back to our business. The buzzing still giving us a headache from the hallway.
Now, I know that the nearest fire station is approximately 10 blocks away. Even IF these firefighters were sitting around in full gear, sitting in their truck, and were able to respond as soon as our fire alarm went off, there’s NO WAY they would have made it to us in the 30 seconds it seemed they responded. It’s just not humanly possible.
As I continued to sit around casually I pondered the possibilities of the extremely fast response time.
A. We have an incredibly performing fire response team full of guys nicknamed Nancy and Mary. As soon as the alarm went off in the Loring neighborhood, they knew they needed to respond right away, lest their wigs burn.
B. Someone called 911 and the operator kept them on the line for a while, and then said person went to the hallway to pull the alarm.
C. The fire dept actually knows about a fire in our building before we do. That’s scary.
The alarm was finally shut off about ten minutes after it began. The roomie and I were both ready to head out for the day shortly thereafter and headed for the elevators.
The elevator opened and we joined the sole inhabitant – a lady who lived upstairs. The doors closed and she spoke aloud, “I wonder if the elevators work during a fire.”
In my disbelief I asked her, “You mean you didn’t go rushing for the exit when the alarm went off?”