My first experience with the Fire Brigade…


Welp, I had quite the exciting evening… It started off well! I got up, went to spin class, came home… then found out one place I was applying for a job at was nearby, so I walked and turned in my CV (what we would call a resume) into their office. The woman wasn’t available, because she was with a client… but I felt good applying for another job!

Anyway – later in the day I had come home and was hanging out for a bit, and all the sudden the building’s fire alarm started going off; and boy, was it loud! I all the sudden went into melt down panic mode… What do I grab? What do I do? Where do I go? What if I’m the only one home in the building? I don’t know how to dial the fire department here… So I called Toby, who suggested I at least grab the passports and our other important documents. We haven’t registered yet with immigration, so we would need our passports for that, plus we couldn’t get back to the US or go anywhere without it. Luckily it was all in a big pile still, so I grabbed every piece of documentation that proved that we were American Citizens. On my way out the door I also grabbed Toby’s briefcase he left at home and threw my laptop in it.

So ran to the front of the building, and another woman was coming out of her apartment at the same time.  I asked her if she thought we should call the fire department, because at that point, we hadn’t seen any smoke. She said, “probably not, we can just call the landlord and see if he can come turn the alarm off.” After that, an Italian guy casually starts walking out of the apartment and lights a cigarette.

We both asked him, “did you see smoke in there?”

Italian guy: (casually states) “yeah”

Both of us starting to freak out: “Did you see what apartment it was coming out of? Did you knock on their door?”

Italian guy: “Yeah, I knocked on the door, but no one answered.” (looking like it was just no big deal”

So the other girl and I went into the building and went upstairs, we all the sudden started smelling burning and started seeing smoke. She felt each door on the floor with the back of her hand, and none of them were hot. I thought to myself, “ok, well that’s at least a good sign”. She knocked on each of the doors, and no one answered. She started freaking out a little bit more and said she was going to run into her apartment and grab her computer and purse, and call the fire brigade. I called the landlord for a second time. Both times he didn’t answer, so I left a message informing him that the alarm was going off, that there was smoke on the second floor, and that another tenant had called the fire brigade (what they call the fire department. Luckily she called, because at that time, I still didn’t know how to dial for emergency services.

We all met back up front, and by this point, and not even a minute after there were two fire trucks, two ambulances, and several police cars.

Fire Truck

Second Fire truck and Ambulance

Fire Truck

They all rushed up and went into the building to investigate. They came back out and got more firemen, and started carrying the big water hose inside the building. We stood outside for about 20-30 minutes, not knowing what was going on… if there was a fire… and then I realized the apartment that had smoke coming out of it was partly above our apartment. So if there was a fire and they’re spraying water… is there going to be water damage in our apartment?!? They eventually came out, and said that someone had left a pan with food or oil or something in it on the stove with the burner on. They got into the apartment, but I don’t know if they found a master key, or if they had to bust the door down… but they said it was taken care of so we could go back inside.

Luckily, there was no water damage, so I’m assuming they just used a fire extinguisher. I was also freaking out a bit because we haven’t figured out how to get renters insurance yet here, so the first thing I am doing tomorrow, is finding out how to get renters insurance, and get it set up, and we’re going to look into getting a safety deposit box to see if we can store our passports and immigration/visa forms in there so they are in a safe place.

Eventually the landlord called back, and he is in France on business at the moment. He probably freaked out when he heard my message – but he said he’s going to send someone over to make sure everything at the apartment is okay. I’m just glad that everything turned out alright, and that it was a small fire. AND, I now know how to dial for emergency services. You dial either 999 or 112. Not sure why there are two numbers, but there are.

Hope everyone else has a safe Tuesday evening!

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