Thursday, December 30, 2021

my scare for the morning

Around 9:30 a.m., our building's fire-alarm bell went off. It rang for a few minutes, then went quiet, then started ringing again thirty seconds later. On top of that, a computer voice came over the PA system (one of the Soviet aspects of living in a Korean apartment is the fucking PA system) telling us that a fire had broken out, and we were to leave immediately. Well, we all knew the drill: use the stairs. I dressed, bagged up my laptop and some hardware essentials (portable power pack, portable WiFi, cords), and headed out.

I live on the 14th floor of my building. Out of curiosity, I dodged into the 13th floor to hear whether the alarm was ringing there as well. It was. I shrugged and continued down the stairs until I reached our building's lobby. A bunch of folks were milling about along with some firefighters. I saw a fire truck parked outside the building's front, but sensed no urgency among the firemen. Sure enough, within about a minute of my arrival in the lobby, someone gave the all-clear. I looked to one of the concierges for confirmation and asked, "Is it over?" He nodded, so I headed for an elevator. As you might imagine, the elevator going back up was packed, but by the 14th floor, it had cleared out somewhat. Everything was quiet on 14 as I walked back to my apartment, and here I now am, blogging this post.

UPDATE: a subsequent PA announcement said the alarm had come from the 13th floor. After inspection, we were all given the all-clear (이상 없음/isang-eopseum), and voilà. I didn't understand the entire message; maybe it was a false alarm or a very minor fire. Am guessing false alarm. A former coworker who still lives on the 8th floor says she heard nothing except the fire trucks outside the building. No alarm, no PA, nothing.

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