It was a barely audible “pop.: And another one. I sleepily asked my husband to look at the source of the pop. He stood up, went outside, and then started shouting. There was a fire in the guest bedroom.
He grabbed the fire extinguisher and told me to get a pair of scissors. There was a cable tie locking the pin of the extinguisher. After snipping the lock, I quickly made a frantic call to the lobby, which was answered after 5 rings, told them there was a fire, and hung up.
My husband was still trying to put out the fire. To give him as much oxygen as possible, I opened the windows, the fans, and the door. I turned on all 3 exhaust fans. The smoke was still too much. I couldn’t breathe. I knew right there and then why people die of smoke suffocation.
In between, I was trying to get the dog to get out from under the bed. But he was frightened and continued creeping back in. Finally I was able to grab him and let him out in the hall.
When the building administration arrived, the fire was gone. They were able to determine the source of the fire: a rechargeable flashlight I got as a gift from two Christmases ago. I decided to charge it for the first time, and that decision would probably haunt me for a long time.
I still wonder why it took so long for the receptionist downstairs to answer the phone. Or why the smoke detector didn’t go off. Or why the sprinklers didn’t work. That’s something I would probably ask our building administration in the next few days. Maybe the fire wasn’t strong enough? It sure was enough to practically suffocate us. So I’m not very happy about that.
I’m thankful, however, for the decisions we made when the unit was still being finished: the fire-proofing, from the paint, to the type of wood, to the floors. I’m also thankful that we rarely have generic china-made gadgets, and have invested in a kick ass fire extinguisher.
Most of all, I’m thankful for having a husband who didn’t think twice on being our protector. He was and always will be my hero.