I thought it was my alarm going off at 7am this morning which is no good on a Saturday, but after I’d blearily knocked it off the bedside table the buggar rang again – “Sian, it’s Thobe, I think there’s a fire in Flat 1, our place is full of smoke.” OMG, never has a fuzzy hangover cleared as fast. I was up, dressed and in the car in less than five minutes, with the perfect driver Mr Moregeous at the wheel – for those of you who don’t know, he’s a fireman! All sorts of things went through my head on the 100mph dash through Withington as we found ourselves behind a fire engine with flashing lights heading in our direction. Was it a ‘real’ fire, was the tenant ok, would there be much damage, what would we find when we got there?
I’d rung dad who lives next door, he was on the pavement with the tenants and lots of firemen, most of whom knew Mr M and it was pretty apparent straight away from their smiles that it wasn’t an emergency after all. Panic over and I could have throttled the tenant…. the chicken in her oven had been in there since 2am and wasn’t so much roasted as cremated, she’d decided on a post birthday midnight snack, then fallen asleep and was so unconscious she’d not even heard the smoke alarm going off. The flats and hallway were full of chicken flavoured smoke and absolutely stank, the lads turned on a big fan to try and clear it but it’ll be a while until everything stop smelling like Nando’s.
So lucky. The tenant was quite upset and realised how lucky she’d been, things could have been so much worse. If anything is to be learned from this by me as a landlord it’s a) I need to get that carpet changed soon because it’s so horrendous, b) I need to ban drunken midnight cooking by tenants contractually and c) I need to keep up those insurance payments because you just never know what might happen. In tough times it’s always tempting to cut back on costs, but proper insurance is vital and you just never know when you might need it.