So I came home from moderating a panel at the LGBT Center today and found my block jammed with fire engines, ladder trucks, and couple of ambulances. My building. On fire. Just as I got near the front of my building, Dr. Jeff came sprinting up from his place two blocks away. Jerry, my houseguest, had just called him to say that smoke was pouring under my apartment door and that he’d called 911. Oh, and would he mind dropping by to tell the fire department where he was?
The fire had started in the laundry service in the basement and all the floors were thick with smoke. I gave the firemen my apartment number and they went up and got Jerry, who was about to climb onto the fire escape with my cat, the dear man. All the other tenants were either already outside in the cold rain, or not at home. The fire was contained in the rear of the basement and after a long cold time, we were allowed inside. The lower floors are a bit sooty and my floor reeks of smoke, but other than a couple of doors smashed in by firemen looking for residents, things seem to be OK, thanks to 50 or so guys from the FDNY. I was a bit surprised by the massive response (at least two companies), but I guess when all the buildings abut each other, the FDNY doesn’t mess around.