Post # 1
I might be having some kind of mental trauma going on right now. Maybe trauma is too strong of a word, but I can’t think so clearly right now so bear with me.
Probably 4 hours ago, a man’s balcony caught fire in the apartment building directly across from ours. I noticed some black smoke as I was saying bye to FH. It looked like a fire was just beginning and I didn’t hear sirens so I told him to call 911. Then, I threw on pants and shoes and ran out the door to that building as fast as I could. I forgot we had a fire extinguisher under the sink. My first thought was to get the people out of that floor (3rd) since there was smoke coming from the other side of the building. I banged on all the doors and yelled fire as loud as I could which, in combined with the growing smoke, got the attention of some workers. Once I saw the fire wasn’t too big (just an engulfed chair) I remembered the extinguisher. I yelled to FH to go get it, which cost about 1 minute since he had to run up to our 3rd floor apt. The person who lived in the apartment was trying to put the fire out with cups of water. Once I was able to run the fire extinguisher back up to the fire, two other men were there. I handed it off to one of them, but the fire had already shattered his window and caught the curtain on fire. There was so much smoke that it burned my eyes and throat. I have asthma and know my limit so I got out of there. The two men were able to put out the fire with our big extinguisher (thanks dad!) and the fireman (once they got there) said that had we not acted so quickly, his whole apartment would have been lost.
But….I just cant stop thinking about the whole experience, I’m sitting here trembling. And now I’m alone since FH still had to go to work. I’m here in my winter coat, with the heater on, just trembling and shaking. It comes and goes. I’m so thankful that we were able to help save this guys apartment, but I just cant stop thinking about why I didn’t grab the extinguisher when I ran out to begin with. It could have saved so much damage and would have been less of a threat to others lives had I just taken a second to calmly think. Why didn’t I remember the extinguisher? I mean, even when I grabbed the fire extinguisher from FH’s hand, I couldn’t even remember how to use it…snt it just 2 simple steps?! A few people have already came and knocked on our door to thank us… but I guess maybe I’m still in shock. My neck and shoulders are very tense and I just cant stop thinking about it. I took a shower to help with the smoke inhalation and to get the stink out of my hair (but it didn’t really work.)
I uploaded a photo of his balcony for proof. He had an ashtray on a fabric chair. Today was windy and he didn’t do a good job of putting out his cigarette. The fire ignited the fabric chair and then shattered the window (where the cardboard is now) and moved inside to his curtains, etc.
Not sure what the point of this post is right now. Maybe I should go clean the bathroom. Idk. Maybe I’ll clean the toilet and have a beer at the same time.
Post # 3
Oh my goodness, how scary! First of all, don’t beat yourself up for not grabbing it immediately – the fact that your remembered at all in such a crazy situation is amazing. Secondly, take all the time you need to recover – that is a serious thing! Most of all, you ARE a hero 🙂 Thank you for being so selfless and brave!
Post # 4
You did really, really, well and are a hero!
p.s. I wouldn’t have known how to use it immediately either! so don’t beat yourself up over that. The point is you acted, and were a huge help, you did really well.
Post # 5
Awwwww, you’re a hero!! Time for a glass of wine and a bath for you, my dear!
Post # 6
You prob have some slight shock, but YOU GO GIRL! That was so brave. Knowing you had a condition, and you thought about others first. You did something incredibly selfless. A hero, you may have saved live by quick thinking.
Post # 7
I think that’s completely normal to feel like that – you had to be running under a hell of an adrenaline rush! It’s easy to get wrapped up in what you could have done differently – but think of what you did right. You got 911 called right away, you alerted neighbors so they could get to safety, and you had your FH grab the fire extinguisher.
You did really great! I’m sure your neighbor’s insurance will cover the damage, and in any case, his inattentiveness is not your guilt to bear.
You should be really proud of yourself!
Post # 8
And if it makes you feel any better, a few months ago I was on my way to the gym after work. I was stuck in a turn lane when a crash happened right in front of me. Someone decided to go left in front of me, not being able to see the lane they were crossing. Just as I saw them go, a car whizzed by me on the other side – and completely broadsided the turning car. The sound of the horns, glass shattering, and nasty crunching was awful!
Luckily no one was hurt……..but I then proceeded to make not one, but THREE wrong turns on my way to the gym. I kept thinking about how bad that could have been and I just felt so flustered inside.
I ended up skipping the gym and going home 🙂 And I wasn’t saving lives and property like you!
Post # 9
You acted quickly and did the right thing. Most people have their own fire extinguishers, so while it may have saved SOME damage had you brought it immediately, you might have arrived to see someone with one anyway. Don’t beat yourself up about that! Now I want to go look at our fire extinguisher to read the directions…
If you don’t feel physically better soon, you might want to consider going to the hospital. You are probably in shock, and you might gain some benefit from medical attention — especially since you have asthma.
But the most important thing is that you didn’t stand back and watch — you acted! And that is awesome.
Post # 10
Aw thanks ladies, at least I know its ok to feel this way. A second bath will be had, if anything for the stink. I just cant stop thinking about what I would overlook if it were my family, like if I have kids and something were to happen to them… how would I react. Ya know?
Post # 11
That is so scary! I am so glad you made it out and the important thing is that lives were saved, that is more important than apt damage!!
Good for you, you did a great thing and tried to help, if it wasn’t perfect, guess what you are not a trained professional, just an average person who did somethign heroic and did a good job of it! * big hug*
Post # 12
How did you feel after seeing that happen? I feel like I’ve been so sheltered since I’ve only seen a few fender benders and have only been in a near miss accident. Never really seen anything worse than that until today..
Post # 13
it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as an apartment fire, and luckily the speeds weren’t full highway speed – it was like 40 mph, but it was really scary, and like I said, it really shook me up. I couldn’t manage to drive a route I’d taken hundreds of times!
Post # 14
Wow, you’re so amazing for doing what you did! It’s a crazy situation and not remembering the extinguisher is completely understandable! And you should be patting yourself on the back for remembering eventually unless his whole apartment would be lost! You did an amazing thing. Also, depending on how much smoke you inhaled, you may want to get your throat/lungs checked out by a doctor. Smoke inhalation can be nasty.
Post # 15
First off… I applaud your swift action of not just calling 911 but sprang into action to warn everyone and go back for the fire extinguisher. Your first thought was not thinking of your health or how damaging the smoke could be to your asthma. The main concern was for others safety and that is a very unselfish act.
Second… You’re still in shock. Your adrenaline was at an all time high and will probably take some time to come down. Please stop beating yourself up for not thinking of getting the extinguisher first. You had no idea how big the fire was, where it was exactly and alerting people was your first thought. You definately had a “Fight or Flight” responce where the natural judgment system is also turned down and more primitive responses take over–this is a time for action rather than deep thought. This is a natural responce and many people who experience something like this react the same way you did.
Third… Breathe!!!!! Have a drink, maybe 2 and try to relax. If your hair still smells like smoke try making a paste of baking soda and shampoo. Wet your hair, lather, rinse and condition as normal. The mixture will strip the smell away but only use if your hair isn’t color treated.
Lastly.. Good job girl! I hope I have a neighbor like you if something like that happens here.
Post # 16
@peachacid: That’s so true, good point!! And with the extinguisher, I remember reading those directions when we got it. We are going to buy a new one tomorrow and, no matter how lame it sounds; I am going to act out how to use it multiple times. Maybe pretending to use it help…
FH gets home around 11 tonight so if I’m not feeling well by then, we may take a trip to the night doc/hospital. I’m just now noticing I smashed my finger during the fire so who knows what else is hurting me.