We began the hunt for a condo yesterday. It went well as I found a place that would work for Becky; well, except it was on the 24th floor.
Why would the floor number be a problem? Let me tell you. One of the apartment buildings we lived in had a fire one afternoon. It was on our floor, just two doors down. I had been out and came back to see smoke billowing out of the second floor. Can you imagine my horror as I realized that Becky and her worker were inside. I ran into the burning building and up the stairs to our apartment. Obviously, the elevators were switched off as soon as the alarms came on. There was so much smoke that I couldn’t see across to the other side of the living room. Becky was hysterical. The fire alarms were still screaming and she’d been listening to them for at least ten minutes. The loud alarm and the smoke were completely freaking her out. Well; she was in good company that day, as most of the residents seemed upset and disorientated. The fire department didn’t come to help Becky out, even though she was listed with them as needing assistance, so with the help of the support worker, we made our way along the hallway and carried Becky through the smoke and down the stairs.
At least outside the sounds were quieter and we could breathe. I went back into the building to grab Becky’s wheelchair so she didn’t have to sit on the ground. At that point, I finally ran into a fire-fighter. They seemed to be slow getting things under control, as people were still running in and out of the smoke-covered building. There was no organized evacuation, even on our floor, where the fire originated.
We sat outside and watched the fire department blow the contents of the burning apartment out of the window with pressurized water. Sofas, cupboards, and carpet, were all blasted out onto the parking area. It took several hours before it was considered safe to go back in. I asked if I could go in for medical supplies and was given an escort up to our apartment. The fire department didn’t know when the elevators would be switched back on. There was no way we were staying in the building that night. We stayed in a local motel and went back the next morning to the stinking, ash covered shelter we had called home. It took about a week to get everything washed and aired out, and was pretty hard on the lungs.
This experience has left me a with a fear of living high up. Not for me, I can run and jump and climb, but for Becky, it’s a real safety issue. I think it is safer for Becky to be at a level where she can be helped down the stairs in an emergency. There’s no point saying it won’t happen; it already did.
Having digressed, I shall return to the original theme of the blog, condo hunting. It was a positive start to the hunt. We found the right condo in the wrong place, so the chances of us finding a new home for Becky are really good. Hoorah! To celebrate, the three of us went out for dinner and a movie. Becky yelled out her comments during Sherlock Holmes 2, but at least Tom and I finally got to see the movie. I’m sure the rest of the audience didn’t mind the added dialogue.