August 31, 2009 § 2 Comments

I had a quite mortifying experience this past weekend and it took me a couple days to recover before I could write about it.

To be succinct, I set my building on fire.

Thankfully not literally, but it was still pretty bad.  I was hanging out with some friends and we were making dinner together when we started our last dish of the night: tempura shrimp.  For those of you who are not familiar with the art of tempura, you dip anything in batter and then deep fry.

What I was attempting to make

What I was attempting to make

It was my first time but I thought, how hard can it be?  Well, turns out it really is an art!  And one that I will not attempt in a lloonngg time.  =(  I didn’t have a traditional deep fryer so I just heated some oil in a pot.  After waiting about ten minutes I guestimated that the temperature was fine and started plopping in items.  Within a matter of seconds smoke had filled the kitchen.  At first it wasn’t too bad but then it turned into a cloudy haze that prevented me from seeing the other side of the room clearly.  I opened up all the windows and had the fan running but apparently that was not enough.  Pretty soon the fire alarm went off with its loud, raucous, incessant beeping.

Normally that wouldn’t be too bad right?  I mean, it’s definitely not an ideal situation but it’s nothing to cry over either.  Well, there is one tiny but very significant detail you are missing out on.  The building I was in looked like this:

It was a 27 story highrise, relatively new, and VERY occupied.  Once our smoke detector went off we opened all the windows and doors to clear it out.  BAD idea.  The door opened to a closed hallway with no windows and very sensitive smoke detectors.  Pretty soon the alarms for the whole building went off with a message that went like this, “BEEP BEEP BEEP! Warning, please evacuate the building….BEEP BEEP BEEP! Warning, please evacuate the building…”

… and it was all my fault.

I kept on apologizing over and over to my friends and I too embarrassed to tell the other (very annoyed) residents of the building why they had to evacuate.  Nobody seemed too worried though and they knew that it was not an emergency situation.  Nonetheless people came out with their pets and laptops until the alarm stopped ringing (a process that took at least an hour, probably two).  A firetruck also came with five or six firemen dressed like this:

Hehe. Okay, just kidding.  Dressed like this:

They were really nice though and only made fun of me a few times before going back to the fire station.

Moral of the story:  Don’t try to deep fry with a pot in a poorly ventilated apartment unit.

**Author’s note: My condolences for the victims of the current raging fires in LA county.  =/


§ 2 Responses to Evacuation

  • Caroline says:

    Wow Joanna, don’t you know that we are dying here in southern California from the fire while you’re up in northern California starting fireeee. Don’t you have any sympathy?

    And whenever I see a firetruck pass by, I always take a peek to see if they’re good looking. And there’s this one tall, lean, early-40’s fireman who goes to the Ralph’s I go to that I like. He has salt & pepppa hair.

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