Yesterday, Coleman and I were well into another day of unpacking. I was in the kitchen, trying to find space for all of our dishes, when I got a whiff of burning rubber.
“Do you smell something burning?” I yelled to him.
“Let me see,” he said, entering the kitchen. He took a deep sniff. “Yeah, it kind of does smell like something’s burning.”
We sniffed around the kitchen. Is it the oven? Nope. The fridge? Nope. The coffee pot? Nuh uh.
“We just started using the washer and dryer,” I said. “Could it be either of those?”
We turned the corner and opened the basement door. The smell got stronger.
“I think it’s coming from down there!” I said.
We walked down the stairs. Not only did it smell like something was burning, but it was smoky.
“Maybe it’s the dryer connection,” Coleman said. He turned the dryer off, unplugged it and started examining the venting.
“Do you think we need to call 911?” I asked. “It smells really strong, and there’s smoke.”
“Let’s see if it clears up now that it’s unplugged,” Coleman said.
I walked back upstairs, grabbed Batman, and threw him into our bedroom so I could open the windows on the first floor and vent out the smoke smell. After Batman was shut away and I had opened some windows, I went back into the basement to check on the situation. It was even smellier and smokier than before.
I ran back up to the first floor to get my phone and walked outside to the front porch. It smelled a smoky out there, too. I walked around the house. When I got to the back yard, I saw smoke billowing out of our neighbor’s door — the neighbors who share our duplex. I bolted back inside and opened the basement door.
“Coleman!” I yelled down the stairs. “It’s next door! The fire’s next door! We have to get out!”
He came up and I went up to the second floor to get Batman. After zipping him in his carrier, I went back downstairs and outside to the front yard. Coleman, who had run next door to the neighbor’s house, since he could still hear them inside, was guiding them to the sidewalk.
“We don’t have a phone!” the little boy next door shouted to Coleman.
“I’m calling 911!” I yelled.
Within a matter of minutes, fire trucks were roaring down the street. I stood huddled on the sidewalk with Coleman, Batman, the woman next door, her brother, her three children, and their dog. We pointed the firemen to the left side of the duplex as they jumped out of their trucks with axes and hoses.
In no time, the fire was put out and the smoke had stopped. Some of the men went into our house with huge fans to blow out the smoke.
Turns out that the electrical panel on the neighbor’s dryer shorted and caught fire. Thankfully, since the basement is brick, and there is a firewall between our homes, nothing else was damaged on either side.
When everything was taken care of, the firemen came over to talk to us. One of the men came running out of our house and up to me, handing me a stuffed “Domo” toy of Batman’s. “Don’t worry!” he proclaimed. “I saved it! I saved it from the flames!” I laughed as I thanked him, took it from his hand and put it in Batman’s carrier.
“They pulled the dryer from the basement,” our neighbor said to me. “Wanna see it?”
“Sure!” I answered. “Coleman, will you hold the cat really quick? I want to see the dryer.”
“Ok,” he said, taking the carrier from me.
“Hey, man. Nice cat,” joked one of the firemen as he exited our house.
“Ha. Thanks,” Coleman laughed.
“Is that your cat or hers?” another fireman asked.
“It’s ours,” Coleman responded.
“Man, you need to man up!” a third fireman said. “You say that’s hers, not ‘ours’!”
We all stood around and talked to the firemen a little more, thanking them for saving our homes. A neighbor, who had taken the three children inside her house to keep them from getting scared, came out and brought the kids back to their mom. I called our landlord to fill her in.
All in all, it was quite an exciting day! Most exciting, of course, was the fact that, since I was surrounded by four trucks’ worth of firemen, a neighborhood of looky-loos and stopped traffic, I was looking really good today.
I had taken a shower.
I had done my hair.
I had changed out of my pajamas.
Ok, well at least I had brushed my teeth!
Oh well. Nothing different since my last run-in with manly firefighters.
Praise God that we’re all ok!