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.