Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fire! Fire! Fire!

Yesterday started out like any other Tuesday. I played tennis in the morning followed by a great run by the lake. After a stop at the grocery store, I headed home for a few hours before teaching some afternoon tennis lessons. Returning to my car after my lessons, I was looking forward to a quiet evening with Jignesh as french class was on Febuary break (yes, all Switzerland schools have a Febuary "ski" break). Well, the rest of the day did not exactly go to plan when I instinctively checked my mobile (which I had left in the car) while pulling out of the parking lot. A text from our neighbor, Frederic, indicated that there had been a minor fire in the flat directly above ours! Completely frantic and worried about Schlopy, who was home alone, I made like Mario Andretti and raced throught the streets of Geneva towards home. What I found was terrifying. Five firetrucks, 3 ambulances, and multiple police cars blocked the street. Onlookers had stopped to check out the commotion as dozens of emergency workers flooded the area. I slammed into the first available parking spot, grabbed only my keys, and ran as fast as I could to our building (yes, I might have knocked over an innocent pedestrian or two). Shaking, upse, and scared, I skidded to a halt and attemped to explain in French to the nearest firefighter that I lived on the third floor. Obviously my French was getting me nowhere as the guy just stared at me. Switching to Frenglish, I desperately repeated that my dog was in there. After calming me down, the firefighter found a English speaking colleague who escorted me to my apartment where I was relieved to find a terrified but safe Schlopy. While our flat was untouched except for some smoke and minor water damage, the flat above us was completely destroyed! Almost nothing remains in the charred ruins. The common areas of the building are a mess with broken windows, ash, and odors. I am sure the next few weeks will be filled with cleaners and repairmen. The cause of the fire is still unknown but is rumored to be caused by the older and medicated lady who lives in the destroyed flat. She was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation while a resident from the fifth floor was rescued by ladder. Thankfully, both have recovered. I cannot begin to imagine what would have happened if the fire had lasted just a few minutes longer. While these events definitely made an everyday Tuesday a bit more exciting, I hope that next Tuesday will return to its mundane ways!

Au Revoir!

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