FIRE FIRE! GET OUT!
3:30 in the morning and I'm woken up by banging. Sometimes people are loud, so I ignored it and quickly drifted off towards sleep again. Next comes a man's voice "FIRE FIRE!". THAT got my eyes open. I don't sleep in any clothing, so I grabbed pants and shirt and threw them on (no bra or underwear), then grabbed the cat carrying case from the closet. Thank god my cat sleeps through me getting up a lot during the night, or I never would have gotten her into the case. (She was in it before she was awake, and only made a struggle at the end. I wasn't thinking straight (blazing fire visible from your bedroom window will do that), and kept saying to her "it's an emergency! You have to get in!")
I ran out of the apartment, grabbing the portable phone (not cell) phone and my backpack (wallet, car keys in it) since they were on the way. Luckily I saw someone else moving their car, otherwise I wouldn't have thought to move mine.
Unfortunately my glasses are old (I wear contacts from the moment I get up until the moment I crawl into bed) so I couldn't SEE what was happening. I saw blazing fire (my god, my god, how many stories high was it? scary as hell), but I couldn't tell if it was my apartment unit or not. (Three apartments = one building/unit, a cluster of these three-apartment buildings make up our complex.) It looked like the apartment on the other end of my unit was on fire (OH MY GOD), but it turned out to be the carport next to it.
Eventually the firetrucks got here (NICE TIMING! The firehouse is in the building behind our complex, less than a 1 minute walk away! Forget about how fast of a drive!) and started fighting it.
Somehow hours passed. It felt like a minute or two, but now it's 5 AM. Luckily it was just the carport that burnt (a number of cars totaled, including one that was just bought yesterday). The firemen are still here, on the roofs checking for sparks. (I don't exaggerate when I say California never gets rain. We've not had rain in months and months.) I don't know if I should be inside or not, but everyone else seems to be. (I have my windows open and my lights on, so they can easily tell someone is in here.)
How I knew my worry about losing everything I owned was over: At one point I smiled a little (only in my head) and said to myself 'Wow! At least now I have something RL-related to post in my LJ!'. I took a couple of photos, but I don't know if they'll come out or not. Only three photos (I felt a little wrong taking pictures when we didn't know what might be lost). A number of news crews are here. There must be like six or seven fire trucks, one truck that is here only to light things up (it has massive floodlights on poles that can raise from its back), and tons of cops.
I'm not going to work tomorrow. (Bad timing there, since it was only a half day -- company picnic.) I called in already. (Man, does my company suck. There's no general voice mail box for after hours! And the main mail boxes (tech support, support) go to an individual person's mail! Hopefully the person who I left voice mail for will pass on the message.)
Going to go look outside now. When all the trucks are gone, I have to move my car. (It's in a no parking area, but I can't move it now because I'm blocked in by a giant fire hose.)
Thankfully nothing (of mine) was lost and no people were hurt. I think all the pets got out (they got them for the people not home, I think). I need a better... system? plan? I have a backup of my hard drive sitting next to my computer. I'd like to make it part of my plan to grab it on the way out. Though maybe that's not smart, I suppose. Since I had my cat, my computer was my next worry.
It's 5:30 now. Wow. I don't know what else to say. Thankfully all my stuff and I and my cat are safe. I think it's over anyway, once the trucks leave I'll be happier.
I just looked outside. Sky is getting lighter. Looks like maybe the firemen are starting to pack up. What a night. Three hours sleep, but I'm not sleepy at all now (hands shaking, I keep typoing lots!). I'm really glad my computer and everything else is safe. Glad I could get my cat out. I thanked the guy who went around banging and yelling about the fire (he doesn't even live in the apartments, he's from a nearby house). I walked in foam and water that were running through the streets (barefooted), and now my feet burn. Need to wash them off soon.
Oh, exploding gastanks in cars make quite an explosion. We felt the woosh/heat/air pressure moving from two buildings away. That really made the fire jump!
Drifting clouds of smoke. I didn't have my camera until the fire was mostly out, so no shots of the blaze.
Line of fire trucks in the street. This was only part of the line.
Edit 2: Seems to be over. Still a couple trucks here, and there's "fire line, do not cross" yellow tape blocking parts of the complex, but all the chaos is over. I was able to move my car back to where I'm supposed to park, and only when I returned inside my apartment did I notice how awful it smelled. Smoke, but nasty, "sour" or "bitter' smoke. Blech. Have all my windows open.
Apparently I'm at least semi-sensible when in a panic. When I went to move my car, oddly I couldn't find my sneakers (I leave them at the door). I searched a... oh, we're on the news. Wow, the fire was really scary looking. Neighbor being interviewed. Huh.) Anyway, it turns out my sneakers were in my car. I must have grabbed them and threw them in without thinking.