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.)