|when there's a smoke detector...
||[Nov. 11th, 2007|02:54 pm]
djedi woke me up at around 5:25 this morning, asking "Do you hear that beeping?" Somewhat groggy, I listened, and indeed there was a soft but definite beeping coming from somewhere. We walked out of the bedroom and the noise got louder, and finally out on the balcony when it was pretty darn loud. It seemed to be coming from a building across the parking lot, and it was definitely an alarm from a smoke detector. We looked and didn't see any smoke or anything, but of course that doesn't mean that nothing was happening. Apparently it woke him up and had been going off for 5-10 minutes by this point.
So, we debated what to do. djedi reminded me that our complex has a number for after-hours maintenance emergencies, which seemed like a reasonable compromise between doing nothing and calling 911. I called the office number and listened to the various options for residents - there was "report an after-hours maintenance emergency", but there was also a "report a disturbance or loud noise", which seemed to fit the bill. I hit that option and it said to call the police. Hmm, OK.
Calling 311 seemed like the right thing to do, since it's the non-emergency version of 911 and useful if you're not sure whether to bother the "real" 911. (912?) I called and explained there was a smoke detector alarm going off for 10-15 minutes by this point and she straight away connected me to 911. Which made me feel better about the whole thing; I said "fire" and explained the situation. The guy said they'd send a truck out and to call back if we saw any flames or smelled smoke, etc. So I threw some clothes on, went downstairs to meet the truck and try to find the source of the noise. It turns out a high-pitched noise like that is fairly difficult to locate (the principle behind the ThinkGeek Annoy-a-tron), but eventually I found the apartment, which was indeed across the parking lot. Oddly enough, the sliding door, a window, and the water heater closet were all open.
The truck showed up in around five minutes (just as it rolled up the beeping stop and I thought we would be made fools of, but then it started again), and I pointed them to the source of the beeping. At that point I kinda wondered how they had gotten through the gate (do they have some kinda magic clicker that rotates through frequencies? doesn't that mean that gates are pretty insecure?) and how they would get in the apartment. Awesomely enough, a guy pulled out a big ladder and climbed on the roof and stepped over to the balcony, then went to let the other people in (there were 5 of them total). They seemed to be searching the apartment, then came out to the balcony again and fiddled with something and the infernal beeping stopped! Hooray!
The guy explained that the apartment was undergoing renovation, and the smoke detectors (two of them) were sitting out on the balcony, and the dust and drywall particles must have settled on them and set them off. (smoke detectors detect particulate matter, not smoke specifically. News to me...) They left and we returned to bed, although it took me a while to actually get back to sleep.
The surprising thing was that that there's an apartment below them with a car parked outside, so apparently people were there and slept through it? I mean, that thing was loud - can't imagine honestly not being woken up by it. Although I guess they probably knew that there was no one in the apartment above...but there still could have been a fire, dagnabit!