I moved in July into an apartment complex! This is a new experience to me because I've never lived in one, I have always been lucky enough to live in a single family house. This place was supposed to be the temporary living place until the short sale house paper was processed (which is another story yet again) So living in this complex has its ups and downs. There are a lot of nice people here, yet there are a lot of freaks, and also a lot of people who can't pick up after their dog.. which seems to be causing an issue with management! The cops have been here for calls, ambulances for calls, a fire truck now and then, but nothing like the other morning.
I had just fallen asleep or maybe was asleep an hour at most, I was tossing and turning that entire hour. I could hear this loud sound and thought there is no way that is the fan making that noise and the furnace blower wasn't on. I opened my eyes and all I could see were red flashing lights against the curtain. I got up and looked out the window and said holy crap... there were fire trucks from one end of my building parking lot to the other and more fire trucks lined down the center road that runs through the complex. I ran downstairs to get a better look! Of course in the mean time Zero had also gotten up and was now singing me the potty song. The perfect opportunity to go be nosey.. let me just mention it was also 5am.
I went out the sliding doors through the parking lot and all I could see were trucks and firemen from Grand Island and Sheridan Parkside was here. I didn't know what was going on, I asked a fireman if everyone was all right, he said yes everyone is safe. I came back into the house and then went out the back door along the back walk and that is where I saw all the people who lived in that end of the building all standing outside. I also heard one of my neighbors kind of crying too.
What had happened was around 4:30am a fire had started between two walls, the fire investigators are ruling it as faulty wiring. The guy who lived in the apartment was sleeping and the smoke detectors were not working (which seemed to be the case in every apartment no less) his cat came and jumped on him until he woke up, he said he woke up to the room filled with smoke. The first thing he did was open the window and put the cat, Buddy, outside so he would be safe than got a bucket of water and threw it on the wall. He also called 911 and was screaming for everyone to get out of the building.
Let me try to explain the layout so you understand why we heard nothing... there are 8 ground apartments, 4 on one side and 4 on the other... they go 3 floors high so there are 24 apartments all together, per building, and on the end of each building (there are 10 buildings total) there are 2 town houses at each end, so 4 townhouses per building.. we are in the opposite end of where the fire was behind a firewall between us and the apartments themselves in one of the townhouses. Amazingly enough Dylan didn't get up when all the trucks came into the lot barking.. which is very strange, I think he was on the couch. Had he been in his doggie bed he probably would have seen the lights and been up in the sliding glass doors barking his ass off. Yep, Dylan is the barker of the three dogs.
Back to the fire itself.... the fire department had a man on scene within 1:30 of the 911 call. I went back and listened to the call itself on erie county fire wire. They called for evacuation of the building and also for National Grid to cut the power, which neither happened. Even the guy's apartment still had power in it. They only evacuated the two apartments above his because they were filled with smoke.. that and the ground floor apartments on either side of his. A wall was ripped down, the fire was contained, and everyone was safe. The fire investigation team was here for a long long time. In the mean time you had every news media here taping this because now we had an apartment complex fire and a cat that seemed to save the day. The cat however was now missing. When he put him out the window the intention was to find him again. Well now the cat was missing... a cat that had now probably saved the lives of people by waking up his owner to alert him to the fire and smoke.
I found myself out at 5am with my flashlight looking through all the bushes calling for Buddy. He was no where in site... I kept saying I bet he jumped back in the window at one point in time. All the sudden I heard crying.... there was Buddy. Buddy had indeed jumped back into the window during all the chaos and was hiding in the living room under some furniture. He had come out to move to another place and that's when everyone saw him. On a fluke the news people just happened to be standing there with cameras rolling when Buddy made his appearance to show he was indeed safe and back in the apartment.
At one point I had brought Zero back into the house, I think it was because the kid who lived on the 3rd floor had his dog in one hand and his cat in the other just standing outside. I went and got the kitty carrier so he could put the cat in it and not worry about the cat getting away. All the sudden I see my Mom come outside and she has Zero with her now. Zero's tail is going a mile a minute just seeing me she was having a hard time walking she was so happy. I guess when I brought Zero back in the house and left again she started to flip out. She was upstairs crying, singing and barking trying to knock down the gate or climb over it. This is not the barker of the three dogs.. she is the quiet one, but here she was barking and going crazy. Dogs can sense when something isn't right and I think me going back out there around the fire scene is what she sensed, because she made it well known she had to get back outside. She was happy to see me and just wanted to sit there next to me and watch. She was very intent on starring at the news people, she was more obsessed with it. Someone would get in her way she'd lean to a side to look around them. Zero would most definitely be the one to alert us to something bad.. I also think she'd be the one to hurt a person, god forbid, anyone ever broke in here. She is the protector of the three of them.
There is about $6000 damage just to a wall where the fire was on top of smoke damage and water damage too. We can still smell the smoke all the way down at this end of the building and a few things reek of the smell of it. There are two lessons at hand...1. Animals are more keen to things then we realize and 2. Make sure your smoke detectors are working...
But we are all safe! Thanks to a cat named Buddy, who had he not woke up his owner god only knows how fast that fire would have spread through the building! Thank You Buddy for you are the hero to quite a few people in this building and I hope Carl buys you some fancy cat treats as a reward!
Below is the link to the story that the local CBS affiliate WIVB aired on the 5, 5:30, and 6pm broadcasts