The Roof! The Roof! The Roof Is on Fire!

Getting Higher
Sleep and I don’t seem to get along at the best of times, so when I’m awoken by external sources, it’s even more frustrating to have my sleep interrupted. Last night, around midnight or a little later, I think I was just starting to fall asleep when I was awoken by the doorbell. My first instinct was to ignore it, since it wouldn’t be the first time a random idiot decided to ring the bell in passing. But when the bell rang again somewhat insistently, we figured we should check it out. G looked out the bedroom window and realized it was the police at our door!

I still didn’t expect too much of it — I suspect I was groggier than I realized — when I realized that they were saying that there had been a report of smoke coming from our roof! A neighbor had called and reported it. G and the police went upstairs and still saw no signs of fire, but after a bit of experimentation, there was the thought that it might somehow be related to the water heater. As a result, the fire department was called and they soon showed up.

By this point, I’d managed to get dressed into something not completely embarrassing and was trying to figure out where both cats were and to keep them from running out the open front door. They, like me, were a little freaked out and didn’t move very far. G was with the police/fire. Meanwhile, I’m starting to think about the fact that neither of the cat carriers are put together and I was trying to think of any documents I might need other than my passport. Where would we go? Holy sh*t are they going to end up tearing our roof off? Gah!!!!!!

A very short time later, everyone left and it turned out there was no fire and actually no smoke. Although there had been the scent of wood fire in the air outside, it turns out it wasn’t coming from us. The puff of smoke our neighbor had seen was steam/vapor from our water heater roof vent and perfectly normal, from what I understand. G said the fire department had taken special scanning tools and looked all over, testing temperatures, and even the “smoke” and everything came out just fine.

It was all rather anticlimactic, which for this kind of event, is the best kind of ending! My heart continued to pound for a while afterward, though. You see, house fires are one of my biggest fears. It’s the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night. It may have taken a few hours for me to get back to sleep, but at least I was sleeping in my intact house. Thanks to the Utrecht Politie and Brandweer for being so nice and not being cavalier about any potential water our roof may have needed!

(FYI, the photo is from new year celebrations 2009/2010 in the middle of a street.)


26 thoughts on “The Roof! The Roof! The Roof Is on Fire!

  1. OK Lady, next time the result is that there was no fire please do not put a picture of a fire up with your article. LOL you scared me to death. I am so glad you guys and the kids are 100% OK despite the sleep deprivation. (I am sure the excitement during sleep rythmn did wonders for your metabolism ;o

    • But it was a better photo than the firetruck photos I have! 🙂 Sorry to worry you, though, and I certainly did feel like I had a cardio workout!

  2. What a scary story! You’re lucky it turned out to be a false alarm, and to have neighbours who actually act when they think something might be wrong at that hour. I’m very scared of house fires as well. A few years back an apartment across the street here burnt out completely. Nobody got hurt, but it was scary to watch from my balcony, with huge flames licking up the walls and black smoke everywhere. Just the thought of getting caught in something like that… :-S

    • As the police said last night, better safe than sorry! I am very happy that the neighbor did call it in, just in case. Especially with buildings being attached, the fear of a fire getting out of control scares me.

  3. I did think “we don’t need no water let the motherf*cker burn!” when reading the title. But only becuse of the song 🙂

  4. I’m very glad it was a “loos alarm”. I’ve never been confronted with a domestic fire — knock on wood — but even a smoke alarm is disconcerting, as when one of our sons burned some toast a while ago. And in the middle of the night it would be much more disconcerting.

    Pet the cats for us (we have two of our own).


    • This is the first time I’ve ever had the fire department to the house, and hopefully the last! We had the police once or twice in the US as the result of our dog setting off the security alarm accidentally. I was worried that my good luck had finally run out last night. Fortunately, the luck continues! *fingers crossed*

  5. So how do we read that: kindly neighbours/ pestering neighbours/ fuddled neighbours/ crack-pot neighbours/ off-on-something neighbours???
    Sheesh. I’d be too hyper after that to even think of sleep!

  6. I never had the fire department in my house either. I did have a flood (my upstairs neighbours washing machine broke down) that went straight through the “meterkast” (where all the electricity/gas is), and my flatmate waking me up in the middle of the night because she smelled gas. No fun, and definitely not sleep inducing!

  7. Thank goodness for concerned neighbors who are still awake and alert at midnight. Glad to know everything’s fine and you’re not dealing with an unbelievable amount of soot right now. 🙂

  8. What a nasty shock for you with, fortunately, a most happy ending! We had a fire in the roof in the terrace house next to us in London and it was awful. Thankfully no-one was hurt. Hope you get a better sleep soon!

    • I’m hoping that’s the last of any fire drama we’ll have for a very long time (preferably ever)! With terraced housing, it just seems even scarier. *shudder*

  9. The gas smell was another time then the flooding of the electricity and turned out to be a false alarm. All three combined would have been too disastrous indeed!

  10. How very, VERY scary!!!!!! God, the fear of losing everything and not knowing what to try to salvage must have made you a jittery wreck for hours, even once everything was okay. I’m glad it turned out to be nothing but I bet it’s not a memory you’ll shake off too soon. But, really, thank god you’re all okay!

    • I think one of the benefits of moving countries is that we really got rid of a lot. There’s not much left that I feel like I “must” have, other than paperwork, pets, and boyfriend (in no particular order). I was relieved in the moment that there were no obvious signs of fire so I hoped it wouldn’t be too bad if it did turn out to be a fire. But yeah, my heart was racing for quite a while afterward.

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