Our old apartment almost burned down about a year ago today.

It was a pretty normal day. I was sitting at my desk on my computer. Russ was sitting on his bed, with his computer on his lap. Strangely enough, I was playing Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” on iTunes.

The song was almost over when the fire alarm went off. For some reason, our first reaction was that it was a false alarm. The ringing persisted, however, and I decided to get up and go in the hall to have a look.

Quickly it became apparent that it wasn’t a false alarm. If I had to pinpoint the warning signs, I’d say it was either the water building up in the hallway, the smoke pouring out of the apartment down the hall from us, or our neighbor running out of her apartment covered in soot and water. Maybe it was a combination of all three of those things.

She ripped the fire extinguisher off the wall, handed it to me, and queried, “Do you know how to use this?”

I had the chance to be a hero.

But instead of calmly reading the instructions and killing off the fire single-handedly, I panicked and handed it off (along with my chances for fame and glory) to our neighbor Corey. By this time Russ was out in the hallway, too. The three of us gamely led a charge into her apartment to turn off her breaker. Well, mainly Corey and Russ. I hung around in the doorway because I’m a huge pussy.

Once all the breakers were off, and the fire was under control, our neighbor came out of her apartment looking wild-eyed like a caged panther, turned to Russ and said, “James, I’d like to thank ya for tha banana bread.”

Russ put confused face on and gamely responded, “You’re welcome.”

So anyway, to make a long story short, we had to evacuate. Four fire trucks and an ambulance came in order to make the situation even more confusing.

The apartment below our neighbor’s flooded.

Her apartment was covered in three inches of water and reeked of smoke for the next two months. She and her husband moved out shortly thereafter.

The moral of this story (well, besides that if you live in Sherman there will be a kick-ass fire in the downtown area about once a month) is don’t start cooking a grilled cheese sandwich, take a handul of Vicodin, and pass out.

Way to go Nancy. These five Oxycontin are for you.

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