Yes, that’s right…screw you guy.
See, there’s a pyromaniac preying on my street. Or my alley, to be more precise. In the last month, we have had FOUR fires in our alley, with the most recent being Sunday night, and not actually in our alley but in our BUILDING.
It started about 3 ½ weeks ago, when someone lit a couch on fire in the alley (it was just sitting against the back of the end building). Firemen came and put it out but there was some damage to the building and a huge smoke mark all the way up to the fourth floor. Woke us all up in the middle of the night, though, with the smell of smoke and the sirens.
A few days later, the Dumpster outside the building next door to our building was set on fire. This was about 2 a.m. and the firemen came again & put it out, and the only damage was to the Dumpster—and that we were all awakened again with the smell and the sirens.
Two weeks ago, we were awakened again with the smell of smoke and sirens in the middle of the night, to find that the Dumpster on the other side of our building was set on fire. This time, however, the Dumpster was set against a garage (instead of in the middle of the alley, like the other one was). The people who own the house do a lot of home-projects and the garage was full of half-finished projects (like dressers and stuff) and tons of paint and stripper, etc. The flames in the Dumpster got too high and caught the overhanging rafters from the garage on fire and the whole garage went up. It’s a burnt mess except for the brick. This garage is about 10 feet from my front door and it was pretty scary to have a fire that close. It’s all taped off with yellow tape and stuff.
Since it’s been two weeks, it was finally starting to smell a little less like a campsite and wasn’t bothering me too much. Then Sunday night happened. Let me mention that I started a new job on Monday and so was very interested in getting a good night’s sleep on Sunday. Ha!
Woke up about 1:30 to the sound of someone pounding on a neighboring apartment door. Then I smelled smoke, a lot stronger than before and went outside to see what was going on *this * time. The guys upstairs were already outside and yelling at me that our laundry room was on fire. The laundry room is on the other side of the building, but shares a wall with us and the apartment next to it on the other side. While I was standing there, I saw that all the outdoor light fixtures had smoke coming out of them…then they flickered and went out. I ran back inside and was totally shaking as I tried to wake up my husband, who as usual was sleeping like a rock and wouldn’t wake up. I said, “Honey! The building’s on fire! Come on!” and he got up and ran outside in his boxers and t-shirt. I grabbed my shoes, a sweatshirt and my cell phone, and by that time Hubby had ran back in to see where the heck I was so I told him to grab my purse and we ran out. Our car was parked out back and we were afraid if the fire spread it would get burned, so we jumped in and drove down past the fire truck in the alley to the end of the block.
The police had all the streets blocked off and they actually made us park and get out. We walked back up to our building to see there were four more fire trucks in front of the building plus a ton of other smaller fire vehicles. They did get the fire put out but not before it torched the laundry room, electrical room and the apartment upstairs from the laundry.
Thankfully, we have no fire damage in our apartment—however, the firemen did break our door when they went in (I had left it unlocked! I guess they are in too much of a hurry to try knobs) and also they made a big hole in the wall we share with the apartment next to the laundry room. Of course, everything smells like smoke but there’s no water or fire damage so I guess that’s something. Also, nobody was hurt. The guy in the apartment next to the laundry room had gotten home from work about a half-hour earlier and was up making something to eat when he saw the flames out his window. He called 911 and then went around banging on doors (there’s only 12 apartments in our building, so he got them all). Every person in the building said that their fire alarms did not go off, including ours. We are all so lucky that guy was up or who knows what would have happened.
The Fire Chief came out and said the power was out for the whole building and we would be “displaced” for at least 3 days. He also told us they thought it was an “electrical” fire, which I don’t really know what that means, but we all pretty much think that whoever has been starting all the other fires was responsible for this one too, especially since the laundry room door is on the outside of the building and therefore accessible to the public, and also has a lock which does not work. Oh, and also they store old carpet and paint cans in the electrical room. That’s prolly not too smart.
The Red Cross showed up and gave us vouchers for a hotel and food at a nearby IHOP. After the fire was out and they checked for hotspots and everything, they let us go back in to pack an overnight bag. We got to the hotel about 4:30 a.m. and I was exhausted and worried about starting my new job on Monday morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep a wink. I was so worried that maybe they didn’t get it all put out and that our apartment was going to catch on fire after everyone left, plus I was all jittery from being so scared. Totally sucked.
I made it to the new job on Monday and was actually pretty awake until about 2 p.m. and then I was totally wiped out. The new job let me leave early so we could get our lodging situation figured out. The Red Cross said we could stay in the basement of some church, but had to be out in the mornings by 7 a.m. We decided to go to my mother-in-law’s about 20 miles away instead. But first, we stopped at the apartment to see how bad the smoke was. We had left the windows open all night, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it would be—our clothes didn’t smell but I think our furniture still does. We packed up some more stuff, went and ate at IHOP and then realized that no power meant the fridge was slowly getting warm. We put everything salvageable into grocery bags (the frozen stuff was all still frozen) and took them to my bachelor father, who was quite pleased not to have to go grocery shopping this week.
We also saw the owner of the building who told us it would be at least a week before the power was back up, and possibly more depending on the condition of the wiring in the rest of the building.
So…that’s just great. I am now really scared and do not want to move back in if/when the building is livable again. I guess that’s not really too bad since we were planning on moving soon anyway…we’ll just use this time to find a new place. But it totally sucks that I feel afraid now. What sick kind of individual gets his kicks by destroying things? By jeopardizing people’s lives? He’s got me trained now to get a rush of fear when I smell that smoke. I can’t get it out of my nose! I’m just so pissed that some jerk is doing this. I don’t believe for one second that the same guy didn’t set my building on fire. I am still in a state of shock. I feel so bad for the people whose apartment is burned up. They lost so much…and it easily could have been like that for us.