At approximately 10pm this evening the fire alarm went off in my building. Now in the almost nine years that I’ve been living in my apartment, there are so many false alarms that no one takes the alarms seriously anymore. The problem is that the fire alarm system for an entire long city block is all connected, including the retail space and all the condos. This means if there’s a fire alarm that goes off in a small store down the block, the fire alarm goes off everywhere else, even in buildings not connected to where the alarm is, possibly even 300m or so away. It’s a terrible system and has led to no one listening to the alarms anymore.

So, tonight another alarm goes off and I just ignore it. I hear sirens, which is normal, because the fire department has to attend, no matter what. I keep doing what I’m doing. An hour later, I have to go downstairs, so I get dressed, and take the elevator down. When I get to street level, I see both ends of my street are blocked off and the fire department engine is still there but packing up. This seems like a lot of activity for a false alarm.

I’m curious enough to walk closer to one of the police vehicles blocking the road. The officer is inside the vehicle but he’s looking at his computer or something. He actually looked sorta bored. I cautiously approach his window and he rolls it down. I tell him I live in the building nearby and ask what happened. He tells me that there was a fire earlier in the evening in the first building out of the three on my block. The fire blew out a window or multiple windows. He also says I should be careful because there’s glass all over the sidewalk and street. I hadn’t noticed this before because I exited the building from a different way. The officer says they’ll open the street once a street cleaner arrives to clean the area. I thank the officer for this time and decide to walk back towards my building. Now that I know what to look for, I see shards of tiny safety glass glistening in the road and sidewalk. Though the police are blocking entry into the street, they’re letting people leave. While I’m on the sidewalk, I see three cars just roll through the broken glass, making crunching noises as they go by. Yikes.

I walk back to my apartment, avoiding the glass. Weird. So there was an actual fire but two buildings down from me. I think it’s possible to classify this as a false alarm still. There was no fire in my building technically. The fire alarm system is supposed to be separated now but I guess that work hasn’t been completed yet?

I wonder what type of fire causes windows to be blown out? Meth lab? I’ll see if I can get more info.

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