Yesterday, I’m settling down to watch the Ottawa Senators paste the Leafs (they didn’t, but Toronto’s out of the playoffs anywho) and the fire alarm goes off. Living in a big apartment building, I’ve gotten pretty blasé about fire alarms. They happen once a month, the fire department shows up, and inevitably there’s no fire. I tend to stay in my suite and look for smoke. I figure they’ll make an announcement if it’s a real fire.
It was worrying, then, when my neighbour pounded on my door about 30 seconds later. He had somehow broken off a sprinkler head in his apartment, and water was spraying everywhere, pouring down his walls. He asked me to call the building manager.
I did, but first I created a little towel dam at the front door. By the time I got off the phone, the water had saturated my dam, and was pouring under my front door, having run from his apartment to ours via the hallway. The water was black, black like Japanese horror movie black, from the gnarly old hallway carpet. Soon the water was leaking in through our bathroom, which abutted my neighbour’s apartment, as well. Thinking of insurance claims, I snapped a few quick photos.
I became the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia, clearing out stuff that could get wet and assembling a series of towel dams to delay the flow. I was getting ready to seriously start bailing (there was probably an inch of water in the entranceway) when the fire department showed up. They complemented me on my dams, and fired up a water-sucking machine.
They sucked up most of the water, and I mopped up the rest. Happily, none of our property got wet (aside from the scummy towels, which are a small sacrifice), so it’s only structural damage, which our and the building’s insurance will certainly cover. It could have been much worse, particularly if we’d been away for the weekend. I think that’s the fate of my other neighbour.