Day interrupted

As is my wont, when the fire alarm sounds, I grab keys, phone and most importantly, the camera.

Today, with strong winds off the lake and under 50 degrees F. with a 40 degree wind chill factor, I also put on a winter jacket and baseball cap, exited and walked toward the back stair well, which I always use to exit the building.

I opened the stairwell door to SMOKE–acrid, electrical smelling smoke!

Taking a very deep breath, I hustled down the stairs…the smoke was worse the lower I stepped, causing me to take a breath into my jacket sleeve and proceed down the five floors.

At the third floor, my eyes began to burn and water, yet I continued and made my way out the back door, noting the panic on the maintenance man’s face as he rushed by.

Once outside, there was this:

23MAY2013 Fire-1

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23MAY2013 Fire-2

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23MAY2013 Fire-3

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23MAY2013 Fire-4

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23MAY2013 Fire-5

I had tried to see into the lobby, but there was so much smoke, which was being blown right out the entrance doors.

I proceeded to the back, to get out of the chilling wind, and made my way into the back hall, which was still somewhat smoky after twenty minutes had passed.

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One of the residents mentioned that the fire was in the laundry room, so, curious as ever, I snuck around the corner and took this image:

"The Culprit!"

“The Culprit!”

The large dryer (gas-operated, by the way!) had been pulled by the firefighters from its normal resting place way in the back corner.

I waited for the firefighter (at left) to leave, then walked cautiously into the laundry room, where I found this:

Someone's laundry, burned to a crisp!

Someone’s laundry, burned to a crisp!

Just as I clicked, another firefighter came from behind, asking “Ma’am, who are you with?”

I replied I was a resident and that I catalog every fire in the building–but he sternly asked me to leave the area, and I did.

I walked back up the stairs with another neighbor and we chatted for quite a while, about problems with these machines which are owned by a company obviously more interested in collecting the money from the machines instead of regularly maintaining/testing them (there have been quite a few problems with this particular dryer in the past, and it’s the same one that’s been here since I moved into this building over six years ago!).

The smoky smell made me feel a little woozy…I napped under the covers for a bit because I had gotten so terribly chilled.

(I guess this old gal’s body really doesn’t respond that well any longer to a forty degree DROP in temperature in a less than a twenty-four hour period!)

I’m not certain if anyone was injured in any way, but I did see a gurney with an oxygen tank being rolled into the front entry…perhaps someone was a bit overcome, because that acrid smoke was just NASTY!!!

A special THANK YOU to our Chicago Fire Department firefighters…their response was very, very quick!

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