Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Men in Uniform, Right Next Door

Unfortunately, they were firemen.

Not that firemen aren’t sexy, but they were working… if you catch my drift.

At 3:30 am on Saturday, I was awakened by a repeating, high-pitched “beep beep beep” sound from somewhere outside.  I sleep fairly lightly through much of the night, I guess, although the minimal traffic noise in our neighborhood never disturbs me.  It’s things which don’t stop which sink through and wake me up.  (Like the dog next door.  Rrrr.)

My first thought was that it was a car alarm — the California State Bird, as we termed them in the mid-90s.  I couldn’t catch the direction from the bedroom window, so I went out onto the deck, but I still couldn’t tell where it was coming from — the next street over, I guessed.  I closed all the windows, which cut a lot of the sound into the house (so maybe I could get back to sleep) and then I could tell it was coming from next door.

My first thought was that it was a burglar alarm.  Perhaps stupidly, I went out our front door and over to the neighbors’ front porch, only to meet Al and Linda coming down from upstairs.  (Their kids live in the downstairs part of the house.)  And I smelled smoke.

Long story made short: the kids were gone for the weekend.  Al got the door open and clouds of plastic-smelling smoke wafted out.  911 was called, and three police cars and four fire engines showed up (on our narrow street!).  Fire hoses and a big venting fan were brought up.  The source of the fire was found to be small, no major damage and no one hurt, everything calmed down.  The local TV station did have a cameraman there, just in case.

As best we can tell, it was a build-up of lint in the dryer hose.  The lint caught on fire — unknown reason, maybe related to the proximity to the furnace — and burnt the plastic dryer hose, and hence the smell and the smoke.  The fire definitely came from outside the dryer.  (Guess I should check our dryer this week, huh?)

Once the fire engines arrived, I woke Rusty up, but he went back to sleep a couple minutes later, figuring that I (or firefighters) would wake him if the fire was serious and threatened to spread.  Rusty’s daughter Sarah, whose bedroom window faces Al and Linda’s house, never knew anything was going on.

I swear, those two could sleep through Hurricane Ivan.

Updated on April 25, 2011

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