Fire!

Here is a picture of my house burning down. Nearly.

Fire 01

One of the things that is occasionally at the back of my mind when I come home from work is “What if my house burned down while I was away?” It hasn’t happened yet, but today was as close as it gets.

It is by pure chance that I was at home today to see this incident. I’m glad it wasn’t something I found out about much later.

I’d heard a smoke alarm going off in one of the flats below me but was doing my best to ignore it. I could smell what smelt like burning toast to go along with it, and since I’ve set my own smoke alarms off on a number of occasions, I assumed it was just a minor cooking incident. Easily done, and once the alarms are going, there’s no stopping them - not even switching them off at the mains.

It wasn’t until I heard shouting from outside that I decided to have a look and sure enough, there was smoke coming out of the flat two floors below mine. Being trapped upstairs while the block burned down didn’t seem like a good idea, so I grabbed my camera and went outside to see what was going on.

Fire 02

As you can see, not one but two fire engines turned up - and very quickly, too. One of the firemen explained afterwards that they turn up a lot faster for fires than they do for people stuck in lifts. And there was me, thinking …

A couple of firemen went in with a sledgehammer and came out a few minutes later with the culprit.

Fire 03

The strangest thing of all is that just an hour or so earlier this morning I had renewed my house contents insurance.

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