Lying on my bed, drifting in and out of sleep barely conscious yet somewhat awake. I could hear ringing, I couldn’t tell if I was hearing it for real or it was all in a dream due to my state. A loud bang on my door jolted me out of my uncertainty. It was my roommate screaming at the top of her lungs ……… Fire!!!!!!!!!!

It wasn’t a dream after all, the fire alarm was blaring. Now that I was awake I realized how deafening the sound was and how my hypnopompic state had left me dead to my surroundings. I jumped out of bed, threw on a shirt and flew out of my room. My roommate was already out of the apartment with the door left wide open and running willy nilly. I had to catch up with her amidst the chaos and confusion caused by bodies running in different directions trying to get to safety.

I grabbed her by the arm and steered her in the right direction, she had been running towards the elevator instead of the stairs. Pushing the door leading to the stairwell open, I could see smoke, thick black smoke rising. At this point, I panicked… Do we keep running down the stairwell four floors down or do we remain in position?

The survivor in me kicked in, I felt the door if it was hot, opened it and went through swiftly covering my nose with my shirt pulling Jane along, urging her to do the same. I told her to remain calm while we tried to make our way through with other tenants joining the stairwell to get to the lobby and then out of the building.

The movement was slow and laborious because people were panicking and we could barely move properly, we were by the exit on the second floor when the door was flung open and we could finally see flames moving along the walls and the ceiling. I gave way for the tenants on that floor to evacuate while holding up the line behind me. It seemed like the only logical thing to do. People were getting agitated behind me and I had to try to reason with them but they were having none of it. Luckily, the line resumed moving before any pushing or shoving ensued. That would have been super chaotic as the stairwell must have been packed with over 150 people……. who knows? My estimate I guess.

Finally, I got to the lobby firmly holding Jane and pulling her along while trying to make sense of what was happening. I saw firemen rushing into through the entrance of the building with all their equipment and fully clad in their gear making their way to the second floor. I suddenly realized how difficult evacuating a sixteen-story building is and I was glad I trusted my guts for taking the first apartment on the fourth floor closest to the fire escape.

Now outside and by the muster point, I felt a sudden chill running up my leg and that was when I realized that I ran out of my building with nothing but my spongebob briefs on and my shirt hanging over my nose to prevent smoke inhalation. I couldn’t even decide if I was to be embarrassed or relieved that I was out of danger. Maybe next time I would reconsider sleeping in just briefs.

Hell NO!! I love my spongebob briefs.

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