Saturday, 11 February 2012

Where There's Smoke....

...there's me!

When I saw it, I told myself, "Here we go again".

This has to be the third fire where I saw myself next to. After the Itaewon fire and the other fire in the nearby Yongsan Station one morning as I made my way to work, I stumbled upon a building where there was black smoke coming out.

It was a freezing day and it snowed the day before, so my eyes were permanently focused on the ground as I made my way through a slippery sidewalk towards I-Park Mall to grab something to eat. My concentration to my steps was just interrupted by another pedestrian who was gazing up the windows of a building. I thought she was just distracted from her concentration as well.

                       (A Yongsan fire in the morning.)

And it was a weird distraction. Black smoke! I thought, perhaps, since it was freezing outside, somebody was having a barbecue inside! After all, this building has a few restaurants on the ground floor. 

And what did I do? I  thought of calling the fire department by dialing 119, the Korean emergency hotline. But since this was the third time I saw myself next to a burning building, I hesitated at the idea. How would I be able to explain myself?  Well, if the firemen didn't speak English, finding an alibi would be the least of my problems. Expressing myself in Korean would be. Ha-ha-ha!
       (I thought somebody was having a barbecue in there.)

So, I decided to stand there, right next to the building, pretending to wait to cross the pedestrian lane, although this wasn't my crossing. I thought that if I stood there and waited for somebody to run out of the building while screaming 'Fire!' and without any burned barbecue in hand, I would readily dial 119, and just blurt out 'Yongsan Station blah-blah-blah'.  After all, how many buildings within the perimeter would have black smoke coming out of them?

I must have stood there for about 30 seconds. I heard no scream. And no smell of burnt barbecue. But still, the black smoke was non-stop. Then, a man coming from the alley next to the building also noticed the smoke and took out his cellphone. Whew! Time to move on! I wasn't needed here anymore.

                             (A Yongsan fire at noon.)

And as I made my way into the mall, I looked back at the building and didn't see smoke anymore. Was it really on fire? Did the man actually call the fire department...or was he just ordering pizza?

Oh well, it must have been a false alarm, I told myself. Time to concentrate on the slippery sidewalk.

After an hour, I was back at work and was talking to a colleague facing the window towards the I-Park Mall and when I heard myself, "Ow my gaaad! Fire!"

      (It's either it was a barbecue party gone haywire, or somebody not invited got pissed.)

Those should have been my words when I saw the black smoke an hour before. But now, as I was seeing it from my 21st floor window, looking down at the black smoke, which had become so thick, I realized it must have been one hell of a barbecue!

My colleague and I stood there and watched. By now, there wasn't just black smoke, there was fire coming out of those windows as well. And luckily, there were fire trucks, too. Did that man actually call for help? Because I didn't believe it took an hour for the fire department to respond. Or maybe, he actually called for pizza. I wonder what flavor he ordered? Ha-ha-ha!

Oh well. My third fire in months, and I assure the fire department I have nothing to do with them. Ha-ha-ha! 


Hopefully, the next time I see smoke, there better be a real, yummy barbecue. Back to the slippery sidewalk.

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