Sunday, December 11, 2011

Food on the Stove: Not Always "Routine"

A visit to the high-rise was not unusual, but the 3:00 AM hour was. Such nocturnal visits were usually for a serious fire, so we were actually a bit relieved as we made our way onto the reported fire floor and the unmistakable odor of food on the stove assaulted our noses.

Reaching the doorway of the offending apartment, we prepared to force it when it opened on its own accord. Actually it was an occupant that opened it and the confusion began.

The female resident greeted us, clad only in panties and a bra. She seemed entirely comfortable greeting two companies of firefighters in such dress. Behind her, a poker game was underway; a group of four or five men around a kitchen table. All were oblivious to the smoke, banked three foot down from the ceiling, now pouring from the apartment into the hallway.

The engine officer, not normally known for his tact, performed a Kissingeresque negotiation to allow a couple of us to enter, turn off the stove, douse the offending pan in the sink, and open a couple of windows to achieve some semblance of ventilation. The poker players studiously ignored us and the woman professed complete ignorance as to the need for our presence. We completed the necessary actions as quickly and unobtrusively as possible and then left, still unacknowledged by the poker players.

We wondered on the ride back to the station if our panty clad hostess was aware of the presence of the poker players and vice versa, based on the volume of empty beer cans observed. Obviously no one in the apartment would be getting their late night snack. It was an interesting evening.

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