Friday, September 22, 2006

The Lift

Saturday evening before the Red Hot Birthday Bash, we invited Alex, Cristina, Geli, and Hauke to come over for some drinks and a bite to eat beforehand. We all got into the lift and when we got to about the 15th floor, we heard a very disturbing clang.

The noise continued until Wednesday, when the manager of the building, Mr. Yeo, had it shut down for the day to have the main cable replaced. Thank goodness!

So, yesterday, I was doing some research on the computer and waiting for Michael's dry-cleaning to be delivered. Jing was in the kitchen. When the Laundry Club guy came to deliver the dry-cleaning, I buzzed him up, but nothing happened. I got back on the phone "thingy" (one of my favorite technical terms) and buzzed him up again. As soon as I pressed the button, the fire alarm bells started ringing! I ran into my office to check when management would be conducting the monthly testing of the fire alarms -- and it wasn't scheduled until Monday, the 25th.

I called the guardhouse; no answer. I opened our front door and could smell the acrid smell of an electrical fire in our lift lobby. The Laundry Club guy arrived in our lift. I paid him rather frantically, and gave him my dress to be cleaned. He went back down in our regular lift. I really didn't want him to use that lift, but he insisted. He was scared too.

After he left, I went looking for Jing. I went into the kitchen to find her practically hanging out the window looking for smoke! I said, "Jing, the fires got to be in the lift lobby. I can smell an electrical fire. Let's just get the hell out of here now."

I grabbed my bag, cell-phone, towels and a few bottles of water. We took the stairs down to the 8th floor. We peeked into the hallway and didn't smell smoke. So, we took the service lift down to the lobby (my thighs are killing me today!).

By the time Jing and I made it to the lobby, Mr. Yeo was there and the lift repairmen were already in the building, but preparing to leave. I told Mr. Yeo that I smelled an electrical fire in the lift. Then another woman from our tower came down via the service lift and she also smelled burning rubber. The guards were scurrying about; some were going to the basement, others up to the roof.

We waited in the lobby to get the all-clear. Then, the lift repairmen came in with Mr. Yeo. Mr. Yeo looked at me with an embarrassed smile and said, "No fire, only idiot smoking cigarette in lift." I looked at them incredulously and said, "That was not cigarette smoke. It is most definitely an electrical fire, and it could still be smoldering." He turned to the head repairman, "What did you to to my lift? You go back to find what is burning now!" Jing and I just looked at each other. The men left again and were gone for another 15 minutes or so.

While we were waiting I continued to watch the guards, and then I saw Yacob with a fire blanket heading to the basement. Eventually, everyone convened in the lobby and gave the all-clear. Mr. Yeo assured me that everything was fine with the lift.

As the repairmen were leaving, Jing said something to the head repairman in, I think, Tagalog. She translated for me later and said that he told her the lift motor had caught fire.

Can you believe that the fire department doesn't respond to a fire alarm unless the management calls them first? Back home, there would've been two fire trucks and at least one ambulance!

Everything worked out ok, but that was all the excitement I needed for the day.

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