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Ben Nadel at CFUNITED 2009 (Lansdowne, VA) with: Oguz Demirkapi
Ben Nadel at CFUNITED 2009 (Lansdowne, VA) with: Oguz Demirkapi ( @demirkapi )

Thank You New York City Fire Department!

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So last night I am laying awake in bed at around 1:30 AM (I can no longer take the caffeinated SPIKE) when I hear some shouting above me. I live in a basement dungeon, so everything is above me. I don't think anything of the shouting because I figure someone is just having an argument. A few minutes later I hear some glass breaking outside my window - the basement apartment faces a back patio. I figure the argument above me has gotten to the point where someone is throwing stuff out the window; a lover's quarrel perhaps.

But then, after about a minute of steady glass breaking, I realize something is funny. I get up and look out the window. Don't see much of anything. Then, I got over and open the front door. It's pitch black. This is highly unusual as there is always lighting in the hallway. I realize there is a lot of commotion coming from the first floor. I grab some pants and a sweatshirt and dash up the stairs to see what's going on. At the top of the stairs is a stream of Fire Fighters running into the building. It's dark, there's firemen everywhere, I panic and run straight out the building in jeans, a sweatshirt, and barefoot!

Apparently the building is on fire! So, there I am, in 40 degree weather, padding around in a crowd outside, barefoot and cold. Not a good place to be. Apparently some guy on the 4th floor was heavily medicated and fell asleep while smoking the cigarette... and well, we've all seen that after-school special. Fortunately, he was not too badly hurt and they rushed him off to the hospital.

We were outside for about an hour and a half. I always knew New Yorkers were awesome people, but it's in moments like this that they really shine. Some guy in the building next to mine went up to his apartment and got me winter socks so that my feet didn't freeze. Some other guy from the next building over made hot tea for everyone outside. People are just so nice, it fills me with such a feeling of happiness.

In the end, we got to go back into the building at a little bit before 3 AM. The lights don't work and there is water pouring down my half of the building. But, I have to say that I am extremely lucky! Being 4 stories below the fire, my water damage was quite minimal. I had it streaming down in one part of my studio, but it soon stopped. The walls are yellowing in a places, but mostly I can just hear it cascading down inside of the walls. My electricity still works and my show was hot this morning. Some of the apartments above me were absolute destroyed with water damage... so at least I still have a home.

Then, after settling into bed again, with burning eyes and throat from the burnt air, the American Red Cross knocks on my door at like 4 AM to make sure that everything is all right and that I am not in need of assistance. That's awesome; I had no idea they did that.

All in all, I think we were all very lucky. The firemen arrived quite quickly and saved the day. Most of us were able to go back into our apartments. I am running on about two hours of sleep, but hey, if that's the worst that happens, I am happy with that.

Reader Comments


Glad everything worked well as it possibly could have. It's too bad all we ever hear about in the media is the assholes and the douche bags. There are a lot of really good people out there who are more than willing to do what they can to help at the expense of their own comfort and convenience. Even if it's just a pair of socks. :-)


Saw something a lot like that a few years back. We were helping a friend move into a new apartment, and one of the buildings caught on fire.

By the time the fire department was finished up, there were a couple tables out on a nearby lawn with extra clothes, toothbrushes, and general day-to-day necessities for the families that lost their homes. The evening topped off when someone brought back Outback Steakhouse orders for the families.



Ha ha, you know, its actually a bit true. In the basement, I have a hard time hearing anything. And, on top of that, the woman who is our temp super (my super unfortunately died recently from Leukemia) forgot that people live in the basement (two apartments) and did not come knock on our doors.


Yeah, there really are a lot of good people out there. That's awesome about the Outback Steakhouse orders :)


I was in NYC during the blackout. I know, great timing... I was just spending the day, I stayed with a friend in Connecticut and came to the city by train. Needless to say, trains weren't running and we weren't able to contact anybody we knew in NYC, so we had to spend the night in the streets with many others. People were just awesome, the solidarity was evident, and it actually turned out to be a pretty cool experience!



I remember the black out. Yeah, the streets in NYC were packed. But it turned out to be a great time. Everyone from my building was chilling out on the stoop. Some guy from the next building was walking around playing songs on his guitar. Everyone was sharing water and candles and flash lights. Solidarity... you better believe it!


I'm a smoker and this is why I have strict rules that noone, not even myself, smoke in my house. I you want to smoke, do it outside. I've seen to many accidents in my life with cigarettes and flammable fabrics.


I'm originally from the Caribbean and I hear people all the time complain about New Yorkers but you know on most occasions I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Generally there are really nice people here!

Glad to know that things turned out okay as long as no one was hurt seriously, things can be replaced.

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel