Sunday a week ago I left a pot of boiling chick peas on the stove with the intention of making humus. I had a guest for the weekend and we left to go visit the Monastery. I swear I checked the stove before I left, but in my haste, I checked the burner that I usually use instead of the one that I was currently using…big mistake. While my visitor and I were cheerfully enjoying a cup of coffee at the monastery, I got a phone call from a neighbor saying there was a bad smell coming from my apartment. I instantly knew what I had done and panic rose in my core. Not only for the possible property damage, but my cats were locked in that apartment! We ran towards the parking lot and spotted a young couple heading in the same direction. “Do you have a car?” I asked in a panic. They looked at me with surprise at the crazy, agitated woman speaking in accented Macedonian and warily nodded yes. “Do you live in Kriva Palanka?” “No” they responded, “We live in Skopje.” “Can you give us a ride into town? I just got a call from my neighbor and my apartment is on fire!” I explained in a panic wondering from the depths of my brain where these Macedonian words were coming from. They agreed, cleaned some stuff out of the back seat, and allowed my guest and I to jump in. It seemed like it took him forever to simply turn the car around, and granted the winding mountain road to the monastery must be driven with caution, but “COME ON,” my mind was screaming while I tried to breathe and think of what I had to do when I arrived home. Approximately 15 minutes later we were in front of my building. You could smell the smoke on approach even though my apartment is on the 3rd floor. I ran (at 56 and despite the bad knee!!) across the street, up the stairs to the entrance and the next 2 flights to my apartment, trailed by my guest and the Macedonian neighbor who had tracked down my phone number and called me. Upon opening the door I was met with a black wall of smoke. I hurriedly went to the stove to deal with the cause while my guest ran in behind me (she was smart enough to cover her mouth and nose with her scarf!) to open all the doors and windows. As the fresh air pushed the smoke out of my apartment, the silent smoke detector located in the kitchen finally ‘woke up’ and decided to do it’s job. The problem clearly was not the battery!
DisclaimerThe information and thoughts expressed here are mine alone and do not reflect those of the Peace Corps or the US Government.