My current work in progress:

Roscalie Cardigan by Alice Starmore, knit from Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift  on a US 3 needle

Why I Did Not Knit Last Night

It’s never good when the fire alarm goes off, as it did in my condo building late yesterday afternoon shortly after I got home. The fire engines showed up.

When I opened my front door and saw smoke, I immediately bundled Lucy into her carrier and left the building. It was tricky, because the stairwell closest to my condo was too filled with smoke to use, so I ran to the end of the building and found a less smoky stairwell and got out through the garage (which is above-ground and connected to the end of the building via three walkways at different floors).

It quickly got dark. Here’s the scene outside:

There were 8 – 10 fire engines plus other assorted emergency vehicles. A condo on the 2nd floor was on fire (I live on the 10th floor) — the fire department put a ladder up to it and broke out the windows to get in. All very dramatic!

They very quickly put out the fire, but of course were here for hours, ensuring that all was safe.

They blocked off my street completely, so I couldn’t leave, so I popped Miss Lucy, in her carrier, in my car, because it was getting pretty cold outside.

All’s well that ends well. The condo was empty, so no one was injured or killed. But I wonder how the fire started in an empty condo — that’s a cause for concern, I think. The fire inspectors are supposed to come today to investigate, so we should have some answers soon.

Here’s what the burned out condo looks like this morning:

And outside, you can see where they boarded up the windows they broke out.

The building is a mess. Soot tracked over carpet and water damage, etc. All the common areas reek of smoke, but fortunately I have no smoke smell in my condo. I, of course, had not turned on the heat, so no recirculated air from within the building. I had the windows open and fans going all night and got up this morning to a nice clean smoke-free condo. Oh, and I got the temperature in here below 71 degrees! 😉

Miss Lucy is perfectly fine. She was upset when I stuffed her in her carrier, but as soon as she figured out that she wasn’t going to the vet, she just snuggled down on her little shearling mat in the carrier and waited. When I came back in and let her out, she went into the kitchen, ate some food, and threw herself down on the floor to wash her paws. No smell of smoke in her fur at all, but I reeked of it. I guess the carrier protected her while we were going through the smoke.

Lucy sez:

“I’m fine. What’s the big deal?”

She’s a little trooper. But I stayed home from work today, partly to keep an eye on her and partly because I’m dealing with some minor smoke inhalation. But I’m perfectly fine too!


  1. I’m glad no one was hurt or injured, including the person whose apartment caught fire. Having been through two fires, I can say that there is nothing more harrowing to experience, whether or not it’s your own apartment.

    Take care.

    Bridgets last blog post..Celebrate!

  2. Dear Lucy,
    The indignity! You poor little thing.
    Dear Wendy,
    So glad you’re all OK.

  3. Ah, yes…reminds me of my days at Idylwood Towers (Falls Church/Tysons border…11th floor!)…been there, done that…take care of yourself and Lucy and tKoRC as you come down off the adrenelin rush….

  4. Wow! That really is scary. I’m glad you guys are all okay. Thank God you were there when it all happened though. Someone has to take care of Good Queen Lucy!

    Sheas last blog post..Multimedia message [Flickr]

  5. glad to hear you, lucy, and the residents of your building are all ok! feel better… even with windows open our apt is still .. oh wait! i just looked and the thermometer reads 69.3° YAY!! (our neighbours probably keep the heat up, one set has a baby who is teething. unfortunately from years of babysitting i’m programmed to wake up when i hear crying, it’s been a long couple of months for me as well as them…)

    pennys last blog post..reading again

  6. Hope you and Lucy are resting well this evening. Glad your both ok!

  7. How scary! I’m so glad you’re both all right.

    ccr in MAs last blog post..Sock Pictures! Sock Pictures!

  8. Just a repeat of what has been said before – but I am so glad you are both ok. Fast thinking to find the right stairwell!

  9. I hope you are having a more peaceful day.

    Sarahs last blog post..Thankful Tuesday

  10. I’m so very glad both you and Miss Lucy are safe. Kitty survived a fire in OUR apartment many years ago not long after I got him, and his breathing has never quite been the same. Lucy is lucky to have such a good owner.

    Jadieladys last blog post..YAY Knitting content and fixed car!

  11. Alice in Richmond says:

    Ok, that was horrible!

    Several things worry me here and none of them are about yarn. The main thing is that you are safe. Now maybe you should be outraged that there was so much smoke in the means of egress that you could not use it!!! Fortunately there were 2 stairwells. What if it too had been full of smoke? ~shudder~

  12. Margie from Maryland says:

    sorry that this happened to you.
    I’m glad that you’re all OK.

  13. I am so glad to hear that you and Lucy are alright! How scary that must have been.

    Kellys last blog post..

  14. Fuckin’ A. That is really scary.

  15. Very, very glad that you and Lucy are OK! But, FYI, it’s usually safer to stay in the apartment than to enter a smoke filled hallway.
    (scroll down the page.)

    Marys last blog post..W is for

  16. OMG, how scary for you. Thank heavens everything turned out okay and no one was hurt!

  17. Oh, wow! I’m so glad that you and Lucy are both OK.

    Jocelyns last blog post..The dreaded SSS

  18. Good news that you are OK, and good that it happened when you were home, for Lucy’s sake. May your condo board pursue how/why it happened in an empty unit and assure that wiring, etc. is good.

  19. No wonder you have smoke inhalation, having to go down 10 flights in a smoky stairwell! So glad to hear you all are ok.

  20. Oh my gosh! I am so glad you and Lucy are OK and that no one else was injured. Hope you feel better from inhaling that nasty smoke. Take it easy.

    Kim B.s last blog post..Holiday Knitting

  21. Smart girl to grab the kitty and run. I think we all have the feeling “It will never happen to me,” so when something does start happening, we wait too long to see if it really WILL happen to us, then it’s too late.

    I’m glad you’re all ok, and hope you get over the smoke inhalation and what must have been major adrenaline overload. If this were Plurk, I’d be giving you a “cozy.” {{hugs}} {{chin scratches to Lucy}}

    Lisas last blog post..Well, Lookee What I Found!!

  22. I’m very glad that you and Lucy are unhurt. I guess Thanksgiving came a week early.

  23. glad you’re both ok

    Alisons last blog post..What a lot of extra time

  24. Oh, Wendy, how scary! I’m so glad you and Miss Lucy are okay.

  25. I’m glad that you and Lucy are ok. I’ve oftened wondered how I would manage to convince my three kitties that getting into the carrier during a fire would be in their best interests. And that I hadn’t staged the whole thing as an elaborate plan to get them to the v-e-t.

    Samoofishs last blog post..Halloween

  26. Even if everything is fine, that’s still so scary!

    jannas last blog post..Settling in for the Winter

  27. Oooh dear I do hope your stash didn’t soak up the smokey smell!

  28. So glad you got home before it happened so you could rescue Lucy. We had a small fire years ago and before we left the house my DH got his fish in ziplock bags and saved them. They lived for 4 years after that, which I believe is good in fish years. Our neighbors laughed at us standing in the street holding our plastic bag of fish.

  29. Thankful you are all OK. It’s still upsetting and scarey. It’s even scary to see the pictures. Thanks for taking us along and getting us out safely.

    Angies last blog post..We Have Pi

  30. Wendy in Cambridge says:

    I’m so glad that you and Lucy are all right!

  31. I am so happy that no one was injured in the one condo and MUCH relieved both you and Lucy are fine. I would be afraid to leave my home in such a case. I would want to make sure all was safe. Did you need to seek medical help for the smoke. Not a fun thing to happen for sure!!
    Hugs to you and Lucy!!!

  32. Glad you are okay after that horrible experience.

  33. I am glad Lucy is such a mellow kitty and went in peacefully – if this had happened to a friend of mine he would have had his arms in bloody gauges, cat hiding under the bed and an empty carrier… Wonderful to hear that no one was hurt!

    On a more lighter note, would be interesting to know how much insurance compensation can one claim on smoke-damaged yarn. “This crazy woman claims that she suffered $1000 damages in YARN?!”

    Nunts last blog post..Sock yarn doesn’t count!

  34. Gail Lucille says:

    After reading your tramatic story of the fire, and all the remarks
    that all the 132 blog friends & family have wrote, I guess you know
    that nothing I can say could make it said any better than what they
    wrote…(((((((((((((((But I will anyway) )))))))))))))))))
    That your One Special Lady….& Lady Lucy too!!!

  35. Very scary. Thank you for describing what happened. I can’t figure out what building you live in, but I know you are within walking distance of where I live from the photos the KOARC features in his website. It was good to hear the outcome from the fire, etc. I hope the fire inspectors figure out what happened and that all is resolved quickly.

  36. I’m glad you and Lucy are okay. You’ve inspired me to add a knitting bag to my grab-in-an-emergency-and-run kit. You seem to have retained your composure magnificently, but for me, everything is easier to manage if I can soothe myself. I usually always have a book close by, now I’m thinking a permanent favorite along with some simple scarf stuff in the kit, would be good insurance.

  37. So glad you are ok (the collective you, as in you all 🙂 ). That must have been really frightening to see the smoke and realize there was an actual fire. Poor Lucy having to go in her carrier (mine do NOT like it, unless it’s their choice). I’m glad she settled in and didn’t seem too bothered by it. You deserve the day off, I would certainly take it too!

  38. Ew… Well, I’m glad everyone is OK! Lucy, you are one very well-behaved kitty. My guys would have been basket cases…

    Brigittes last blog post..Where Did My Self-Discipline Go?

  39. OMG i am glad you and lucy are ok!
    Quite an evening.

  40. OH MY! I’m so glad you’re okay…that’s a very scary thing. Hope they find the cause and get it fixed ASAP!

    Knitnanas last blog post..Making Christmas Gifts Isn’t The Same As Wanting to Listen to Christmas Music Too Early in the Season…

  41. What an ordeal — so glad that you and Lucy are safe.

    Susans last blog post..Transformations

  42. Glad you’re all safe!

  43. Are you feeling better now? You had me a wee bit worry with that “smoke inhalation” statement. Hope you’re feeling better now and all is well.

    Kriss last blog post..Pennies for Bella

  44. I am so glad that no one was hurt and that you and Lucy are safe! I hope that you feel better soon.

    Beverlys last blog post..Knitting Purls

  45. Oh my goodness Wendy! Such crazyness for a Tuesday evening … so happy that you’re both fine.

  46. Martha in DC says:

    Wendy something similar happened this spring in my condo development. Fortunately no one was hurt but the unit on the first floor that is a duplex had an extention cord or an electric plu over heat becasue too many items were plugged into the outlet. If was a smoldering black smoke that really did damage to the lower level of the unit and black smoke went all thru the 6 units in that stairwell. it was amazing how quickly the fireman broke thru all the windows in the building. They didn;t even try some of the doors. No one was hurt but it sure was scary.

    Glad to hear that you are all right.

  47. Wow. scary stuff. You and Lucy are very lucky indeed.

  48. I’m so glad you are both safe. Take care of yourself and see the doc if the smokey throat/lungs still bother you. It’s nothing to trifle with. Glad you’re OK.

  49. wow.. SCARY! I would have been out of my mind to live on the 10th floor and come out and smell smoke! Thank God all are safe and well. I sure hope you opened a very LARGE bottle of wine after that!

    mias last blog post..Can someone help with a blogger question?

  50. There are a number of things that can cause a fire in a supposedly empty building. Among them are electrical shorts (which are the most common) and candles left burning. And if there is always the possibility of some one deliberately setting the fire. But 95% of the time it is an electrical short.

    The reason for the trucks and engines being there so long is to make sure it hadn’t spread. Plus they were ventilating the place.

    Nice to hear that Lucy came through it okay. And your yarn stash should be okay as well.

    Mias last blog post..Red Hat Friday

  51. Yikes – glad you both are ok!

    Eklectikas last blog post..

  52. OMG, how frightening!! Even AFTER the fire is out, it’s scary just looking at that damage.

    SO happy you and Lucy and KOARC are all ok *and everyone else too!* but it sure isn’t too comforting that a fire started in an empty condo!


    TheSockKnitters last blog post..Win with Winzy (and me :)!)

  53. I had a close call with fire the other day too! Glad you’re all safe! 🙂

    Deryas last blog post..Snug as Houses

  54. Just have to add a comment saying how impressed I am with how well you handled everything and I’m so happy you guys got out OK. Fire is one of my biggest fears, especially since the parrots’ respiratory systems are so sensitive.

    Glad you’re OK! And hope you & Lucy were able to enjoy your day off!

  55. Wow. Glad you’re okay!

  56. OHMYGOSH!!! I’m glad you and Miss Lucy made it out ok and that nobody was hurt. That is scary stuff.

    Kellys last blog post..Twilight – The Movie

  57. Hi Wendy,

    I am glad to hear that you and Lucy are okay and have survived the drama.
    My husband, (Sasha our Cat) and myself had something like that happen
    to us in July. The lady on the 2nd Floor flat had a fire in her flat and came down to us for help I rang the emergency people and asked for
    the fire department to be sent and also for an ambulance as she had
    a heart problem. My husband was taking buckets of water up trying
    to put the fire out and thought he might have finished up in hospital
    with smoke inhalation. We were all had to leave our flats until they
    had everything under control. So I know what you must have gone
    through. The lady was very lucky to get out with only slightly burnt