Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kichen Sink-Gate

The saga continues…

As a follow-up to my previous post I left you indicating that the plumber would be installing the common drain pipe— well… when it rains… it hails! Everything seemed to be going fine until my wife got home around 4 and we were debating if we wanted to go out to eat or order out (since there still was no sink to do dishes with)— when my wife smelled smoke. The plumber indicated that was probably the torch they used with the solder on the pipe. We took this to heart until my wife comes down the stairs in a panic telling me to call 911 and report a possible fire. By this time we could smell smoke upstairs as well as in the basement and I could not find out where it was coming from.

I quickly called 911 and reported that we have a possible fire between our two apartments due to plumbing work being done next door. Three minutes later we hear two fire trucks barreling down the street. How many firemen does it take to put out a fire… I counted at least 20 people milling around. The tricky part was that it was somewhere in between the two units making it difficult to figure out where it was. They were using infra-red detectors and pointing it at the walls trying to figure out where the smoldering was. The other interesting thing was that there was an extra vent that did not match up with any of the other unit's configurations and smoke was pouring out of it.

Most of the time the firemen were next door, but from time to time they came in our unit and poked around. By this time my wife grabbed the dog and camped out in the car waiting things out. She called her daughter who showed up and offered support. It was at this time that the firemen determined where the source was and was proceeding in hacking away at the neighbors kitchen to try and get at the fire. One fireman came in and told us that they might have to get at the fire from our side and suggested removing any dishes from the cabinets… (You don't know how many dishes you have until you have to remove them quickly).

Scrambling to try and get all the dishes out from above the sink we managed to get all of them out only to hear that they got at the source and did not need to rip our cabinets out after all. I should have taken pictures, but I'm sure some people would say "I don't see any difference in what your kitchen looks like anyway". Rather than try and put back all the dishes again, we opted to wait to allow us (me) to go through them and determine which ones can be given away.

Since the house still smelled smokey, my wife decided to invite us and the dog to stay at her daughter's apartment overnight. So, we packed up our sleeping bags, some PJ's, and some dog treats and proceeded to go over there. We left a set of keys with the neighbors in case they needed to get back in (wouldn't want the firemen to return and break down our door just to get in). The neighbors thanked us for calling and wished us a happy new year which choked us both up after seeing the aftermath in their kitchen.

Our daughter's family made us pizza (yes it wasn't delivery… but Digiorno's)— and we slept on their living room floor… (why does my back hurt). I think that the only one who appeared nervous afterwords was the dog who was panting most of the evening— probably because he never stayed there before.

My wife had to be at work at 6:30, so we left around 6 and left a thank you note for her daughter and family and went back home to assess the damages. Things were still a bit smokey, but not to the extent that we could have if we didn't catch it as soon as we did.

I'm currently trying to get all the dishes back, but thought I would at least tell everyone that we're OK and that we are very fortunate. What a way to end the year— so looking forward to 2009.


Anonymous said...

Thanking God that you and family are all good and the Neighbors too.
i will continue to pray for a safe NEW YEAR.

Jo said...

So what caused the fire? Did the soldering the plumber do cause the fire? Enquiring minds want to know!
Thanks for the props the other day, it was very nice.

Deb said...

holy smoke-- literally!! i am telling you, you have to watch out for those firefighters... while they ARE total heros, they can be quite dramatic and destructive in their fire fighting.

Cajoh said...

To answer Jo's question— we guess that the plumber used a torch to heat up the pipe when applying the solder. I'm sure some plumber would tell you that there is a proper way of doing this so that the insulation won't catch. I have no way of determining if the plumber they hired is licensed and certified, but I'm guessing that one of their helpers is the one who made the costly mistake. Thank goodness we do not have any damages on our side.

B said...

Oh my goodness! What excitement that must have been. I got to spy on my back yard neighbors when they had the firemen show up in their yard. Best part, they weren't even home.

Web Analytics