Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It actually happened.

I've been half-joking all year long that whenever I hear about a fire in Ottawa, I check to see if it's my building.

I live in a million year old house that's been chopped up (badly) into apartments. It's in Chinatown, which is the suspicious fire capital of Canada. And my landlord's been trying to sell the building.

People like to tease me about my Eeyore-inspired philosophy of life, which is that if you always expect the worst, you're pleasantly surprised when it doesn't happen, and prepared when it does. 

So last night at 1:30 a.m. when I was awakened by a fire fighter pounding on my door and telling me to get the hell out fast, I knew what to do. I threw on my coat and winter boots, unplugged my laptop, and joined the rest of my neighbours in the street watching the mayhem.

I wasn't wearing my glasses, so I couldn't be sure where the fire was coming from or how bad it was. All I could tell was that my section of the building was definitely not on fire, and that our porch definitely was. A fire fighter hacked at the wood fence dividing the porches of the house's two units to try and put the flames out.

"Rats," I thought. "Now where am I going to park my bike?"

This thought was immediately followed by: "I wish it was a newscast day tomorrow and I had the camera equipment. I could sell it to the A-channel."

We were only outside for about twenty minutes before the various authorities told us we could go back inside. Apparently they were able to respond right away because there was another fire down the block. Oh, Chinatown.

No one seemed to know how the fire had started, but since it seemed to have started on the porch, there was speculation that someone may have set our recycling on fire. When I left to grab a paper this morning, I noticed that our recycling bin was seared onto our front walk in a charred, semi-liquified blob, which would appear to support that theory.

My front porch looks like a bomb hit it. It still smells like smoke. Piles of seared, chopped up wood are lying all over the place. The siding around the door frames is partly melted and peeling back. The mailboxes have been twisted into unusable shapes by the heat.

Before the fire, I was thinking that today might be a good day to finally put up a Craigslist posting to sublet my apartment for the summer.

Apartment that is somewhere between a bachelor and a one-bedroom for summer sublet.
Perfect for one person, or one person plus one shifty couchsurfer who doesn't mind sleeping on the kitchen floor.
Easily accessible fire escape that you could totally turn into an awesome balcony with patio furniture and a barbecue.
Slantiness and poor renovation makes you feel like you live in an M.C. Escher painting.
Front porch slightly crispy.
Five minute walk to beer store.
Rent includes stray cats.

It'll get snapped up right away for sure.


Laura said...

Maybe you can convince a firefighter to sublet your apartment. Think of last night as an open-house.

jillian said...

Fires are scary. I have an alarm in my building a couple times a month but no real thing yet. Glad you and your laptop are okay!

The Science Manly said...

M.C Escher living conditions?

Sign me up! lol

Claire said...

Hey, need a summer sublet??? You could write an MRP on the mathematical and physical impossibilities of my apartment.

Amy said...

Wow. You were just talking about that on L-pizza night.

Millie said...

I miss #3 78. I'm glad both you and your slanty apartment are alive!