Agent C Reporting for Duty.
I'm alive, Nukaturtle's here too. We're in a new place, and now just waiting for the insurance to work out what they're going to do about our stuff. I still cough a bit, and my fingers are a little red, but we're fine.
We got into the old place for the first time this week (Wednesday) and our PS4 and laptops all all shiny-clean (if still smelling like smoke).
So what the fuck happened?
It was about 11pm local time. We were about to settle into a late dinner of amazing looking nachos. Just as we're about to do that the whole building starts to shake.
Looking to see if some furniture or something fell, I rushed through the flat looking for something that fell. Finding nothing I looked out the front window.... I saw the window of the ground floor flat on the other side of the street. Not quite processing what happened, I looked again. Yup, definately a window.
I headed into the stairwell, and looked down. The wall of the ground floor flat had blown into the stairwell. I sent Nukaturtle back to turn off the gas and the Oven and was going to go investigate. Before I got 3 steps down, someone shouted fire.
We made the decision to leave, or thought we did. At that point, we got seperated. I went back for my jacket (it has my phone, wallet and keys in it), and by the time I did, the stairwell was full of smoke, and Nukaturtle was nowhere to be found (I didn't know she'd been pulled into the flat next to ours), I called her name but heard nothing.
Looked out into the stairwell and tried to get the bravery to go through it. I failed the check. I don't mind telling you I was terrified... You're supposed to be, its big black smoke and there's no breathable air, shit that will honestly kill you.
I shut the door and paced about wondering what I should do. By this time the black smoke was coming into the flat, and the smoke detector was making an annoying noise (even shutting it off at the mains didn't kill the noise), and I couldnt see my girlfriend out the front window outside either.
With the room filling full of black smoke, fear my girlfriend had potentially passed out on the stairwell somewhere, I figured damned if I did, damned if I didn't. I went out, fully expecting not to make it. Somehow, in the room next door, Nukaturtle decided to leave at the same time through the stairwell. Its pitch black - you cant see an inch in front of your face, so I'm having to hold the scortching hot bannister to have any hope of getting out.
I get down half the first set of stairs - chocking from lack of oxygen in the air - before remembering what they taught us over and over again in primary school, get down low and go go go... so I started to crouch, its a little better but still no good. After completing the first stairs I start to yell for help, hoping maybe the fire brigade has shown up by now... Instead I feel a shove behind me and a voice say "Go"... Its Nukaturtle... I had no idea at this point where she'd come from, but it was at this point I figured we'd probably live... or at least had a reason to. The way I figure it, she saved my life at that point.
We get to about half way down the last flight. Things start to change. The Black smoke is now white, and I can actually see whats going on.... In the flat on my left there's a roaring orange flame, about the size of me, about 2 meters away. No time to stop, or even think, I'm still choking, but as we can see the way out we run.
I'm barefoot and its at about this time I get a piece of glass in my foot. I don't notice it until we reach hospital. We get over the road where there's a glass strip, we're tackled by onlookers and forced into the recovery position.
At this time, I start to hear people talk about someone who jumped from the builing, it was my immediate neigbour - rather than follow Nukaturtle he took the short cut. At that time I realise that whilst the back door is normally kept locked, I unlocked it that afternoon and didn't relock it (I was hoping to chase some troublesome teens out there later). Lucky I didn't relock it, otherwise who knows what would have happened. We're left to wait when the first ambulance arrives, as the jumper needed it more than us. I phone both our parents at that point to let em know what happened and we're alive.
We were taken to Accident and Emergency at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and treated for smoke inhilation and what they assured us were minor burns (apparently if you can feel it, its a minor burn. Its when you can't feel it there's a problem), and enough smoke to make it seem like I've been smoking my entire life (Gunny, why you shove smoke in your lungs willingly is beyond me...), and were in the High Dependency Ward overnight for observation. I also had the glass taken out.
Breakfast was cold, wet, soggy toast, and we both agree it was the best meal we'd ever eaten.
Thankfully, this happened in the UK with the NHS, so although we were now technically homeless (as the building wasn't safe to enter, never mind fit for habitation) this didn't send us broke. Double lucky is we were arranging to move to a new place anyway, and the new property's agent was on to us like a shot, asking if we needed help or needed to move in faster. We spent 2 nights in a hotel, then had a new home - stuff still stuck in the old place.
It seems that a lot of people are good at telling us nothing, so although I was very helpful to the police, they haven't told me shit. What I've learned from the media is the flat that blew was a drugs lab.
So don't tell me that Canabis is harmless or never hurt anyone. It hurt me, it made me homeless cos some moron was experimenting with some pure form of it.
Oh, and it gets worse. Before I found out it was a drugs lab, a group of girls, aged 13-15 stopped me on the bus and asked me about my bandaged fingers. After telling them where and when the explosion was, they tell me they knew the occupant of the flat that blew, and were supposed to meet him that night to pick up a "present" for their friend.
Thats right ladies and gents, this piece of human trash was dealing to kids. Sadly he survived, but I am hopeful that the local prison population sees dealing to kids as badly as I do. I'm not sure I've ever wished ill on someone before, or at least not like this, but if I was religious I'd tell you there's a special place in hell for that scum.
Getting back in
I got let into the flat for the first time last wednesday, over two weeks since it happened. My place is untouched by fire, but full of smoke, it looks like a horror house in parts.
I'd upload a video from the stairwell, so you can see how pitch black it is (the soot is packed on like paint, like a cheap horror house), but I'm still on the cell connection at the moment. So here's some flat pictures instead.
The lady you see is the Landlady. She's going to be out this place 6 months whilst its cleaned and redecorated. She was supposed to be moving back in.