There is a fire… What do you do?

I was faced with this question for the second time in my life this week. Both times, I did the same thing first – Grab the Passport. Of course, both times I’ve been outside of the US – first time in Calgary and then London this week.

It was a typical Tuesday night in our household (that is after my Junior League activity – that’s the next post!). There had been quite a few fireworks going off during the evening for those celebrating Diwali. We all went to bed at a reasonable time of 11:15pm.

At 2:07am (I know this because I sleep with my Blackberry – yes, not the best thing), I woke up to hear crackling which sounded like the poppers kids throw on the ground. At this time of the morning, I was livid and told Billy that it was a bit ridiculous for our neighbours (we are on the 1st floor – 2nd floor in US terms) to be doing this.

I was lifting the window to ask them to keep things down about the time Billy said… Hold on and listen to what they are saying on their mobile. I did and got the shock of my life… He was calling the fire brigade to let them know there was a fire!

I heard ‘fire’ and instantly grabbed the passports. When I looked out the window, I saw our building was on fire – the 4th floor of the building linked adjacently to ours. The scary part is that the fire escape steps were partially blocked by the fire. Here is a picture of the view – not that great as a) I was rushing, b) I needed to get my kids and other things, and c) It was with my BB.


I went to wake-up the oldest and tried not to scare her, but with a sweet and pleasant tone (which was probably scary in itself) told her that she needed to wake-up and get dressed kind of quickly as there is a fire. She shot-up and said ‘fire!’ I’m not sure any voice can mask that word being uttered! I then went and got the youngest. Lauren woke-up and was so happy to be getting up – she even started to sing…

Technically, I don’t think we needed to be evacuated… But, who am I to voice my differing of opinion to the fire official?! Most importantly, I’m not one to risk my life or my family’s life for my opinion!

We went downstairs with all of our neighbours – you learn a lot about what your neighbours sleep in (or, don’t sleep in!) when they come to the door as the Porter is getting them out of the building!

This was the view downstairs and the fire ladder extension used to get people out from the penthouse… I counted 10 fire brigade trucks.



We made the BBC News (TV and online) and here is what the article said:

Ten people have been rescued by firefighters and 150 residents escaped after fire broke out in a block of flats in north London.

More than 40 firefighters tackled the blaze at the seven-storey building, which was reported at 02:12 BST.

London Fire Brigade said two adults and two children were rescued from the roof and six others were led out by crews.

The fire was brought under control by 04:07 BST.

A fire brigade spokesman said the fire had “badly damaged” a flat on the fourth floor – fifth floor in US equivalence.

A further 150 residents had left the building before the fire crews arrived.


We haven’t heard what caused the fire, but will ask the Porter! Yep, we were one of the 150 residents that enjoyed the outdoors in the early-morning hours!

Of course, Wednesday was a SUPER busy day at work and I had my BIG meeting!

On the subject of safety, does your house have a plan?

After my first experience was in a hotel, I always keep important documents in one spot and shoes close to the door for a quick escape. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, I check the hotel lay-out for the fire exit and look at the picture on the back of the entrance door for directions!

Now – I was a bit nervous when we were told at Barcelona’s W Hotel that we had been upgraded to the Penthouse Villa Suite… One part of me said – OH MY GOSH this is better than the Hangover’s room, but the other part of me said… Please don’t let there be a fire! I checked out the escape and again went through my safety prep! Here was the hotel and we were on the VERY TOP with a 5-person Jacuzzi on the balcony over looking the Mediterranean… Yes, the excitement quickly won over the anxiety!



I hope everyone is keeping safe and happy! It’s almost Friday!!!!


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6 Responses to There is a fire… What do you do?

  1. Jim says:

    Why am I smiling, Karen? 🙂 This is serious stuff. But then you are a PLANNER by nature and by career aren’t you. I think you will be on the ground pretty quickly for most any fire most any place. Great to have those plans! Thank you for your details.

    • mom says:

      I’m glad you are just one level up from the ground floor. It has to be shocking to be woke up to someone saying there is a fire even in the sweetest voice! Did the fire “one up” the Paul McCartney wedding in the neighborhood?

  2. Rachel says:

    Wow, glad you are all okay. That would be very scary to have a fire in the building.

  3. Megan says:

    Glad y’all are ok. Funny how Lauren was singing – where did she get the “morning person” trait from? Hehe

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