It was a quiet Saturday night on March 6th of 2010. Jason and Emily were enjoying a nice evening at home just relaxing in front of the TV. A witty marathon of The Office and a delicious batch of fresh chocolate-chip cookies were all they needed for a good excuse to spend the weekend night at home. The only slight disruption was the sound of faint sirens outside...faint sirens progressed into a crescendo of sirens...until suddenly the sirens were so loud that they could only assume they were right in their backyard!
Curiosity got the best of Emily as she pulled apart the blinds and peeked our her window. Confirming her suspicions, she saw the lights of blue and red bouncing brightly off of the windows and cars close by. "What could this be about?" she asked herself. She quickly opened the door, not wanting to miss any of the action. To her utter shock, the moment she opened the door, giant flames were erupting from the underground parking garage just below her, threatening to expand and lick up the stairs leading to her apartment. The sound of crackling fire and small explosions filled her ears.
"The fire is here!" is all that managed to escape her lips. Jason lept up to his feet and ran to the door. They both stood there not knowing what to do. Seconds later, a young female voice could be heard running frantically along the apartment walkway below: "There's a fire! Get out!" she screamed as she pounded on each door to wake any sleeping tenants. By the time she ran up the stairs to Jason and Emily's floor, they could hear a hint of hysteria in her voice and she tried not to sob as she exclaimed warnings to their neighbors.
After a quick glance around the room, not knowing of anything to grab besides her phone, Emily immediately left the apartment and quickly ran down the stairs, the heat of the flames blaring against her body. She ran to the side of the apartment building where a group of tenants had gathered. After a couple anxious minutes, Jason finally made his way down, as he too attempted to search the apartment of anything worthy of grabbing. (Sadly to say, he came down empty-handed...illustrating the "quality possessions" that they own).
More minutes passed by and they wondered why the fire fighters were not working to put out the fire; the fire engines were already in place. However, not too much later, the fire fighters emerged and proceeded to pound on each door to ensure everyone was evacuated from the apartment. To Emily's horror, after the fire fighters examined their room, they left their apartment door open and continued down the stairs. After bringing it to the attention of an officer near by, he said it was too late and nothing could be down to shut the door.
The fire was quickly extinguished, but the smoke grew in great black and grey clouds, filtering its way directly into the open door of their apartment. The stairway consisted of a canopy that followed the stairs up to the top floor, where Jason and Emily's apartment door was the first one you come to. Naturally, the stairway canopy acted as a perfect funnel for the smoke to follow up into their room. Emily was not too happy about that, especially once the realization of any possible danger was gone.
To make a long story short, they were finally allowed back into their smoke-scented apartment (and they quickly turned off the stove that was prepared for cookie baking). Luckily, the smokey smell did not last for more than a day or two. Speculation has it that the fire was started by some hooligans who found it entertaining to light paper on fire inside of the gas intake hole. The car they chose was parked underground, right next to a huge pile of old furniture that had been discarded through the years by the tenants. The furniture only helped to feed the fire even more.
The entire true story has yet to be heard by Jason and Emily. Unfortunately, as described before, they did not think to grab their camera in the blaze of action. However, they were able to take a few shots of the aftermath: