If you've ever lived in a major city (save, perhaps, LA), you probably know the experience:
Around 4:30 this morning, I peeked out and saw two fire trucks pull up just below my window. Given the lack of urgency in the body language of the men who descended from the vehicles in their full reflective gear, I fell easily back to sleep. Twenty minutes later, I heard an explosion of glass and bolted from my bed to see a huge engine ladder directly outside my window. I jostled my roommate, who sleeps in the back room where noise rarely penetrates, to say that we might want to leave the building. We ran downstairs to find a colony of people stranded in our hallway with their crying babies and select personal belongings. Out on the crowded street, we learned what was happening.
The building next to us, now pouring smoke, appeared to be experiencing an electrical fire of sorts. Firemen were trying to break into the store where the smoke seemed primarily to be emanating from, but it had a locked metal gate. They sawed their way through the metal, then shattered the storefront window, climbing in to prevent the flames from catching or spreading. Window screens and bits of glass fell from the sky as the men in hard hats worked diligently below. The rest of us stared straight ahead, trying mentally to put all the pieces together.
A policeman asked a young hipster who was shivering in the cold nearby if he knew the number of the super. "Yeah," he said certainly, pulling his cell phone out of his jeans pocket. "I only moved in six days ago."
Below are some shots and video that I took (video after the fact).
LADDER OUT MY WINDOW