Smoke and Elevators

I was determined that today would be different. Today would be the Sunday that my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. and I wouldn’t have a conversation with God about whether or not it was really necessary for me to remove my lazy bum out of the bed to go to worship practice and then church.

Alas, I didn’t really have that normal conversation with God today, however, I still proceeded to sleep commute the hour to church and try not to fall out of the chair during service. Despite my best efforts to come home and sleep, instead of my normal 4-5 hours of sleep on Saturday night, I managed to log about two and a half hours of sleep.

Am I really writing a blog just to tell you my sleep habits?

No, I’m writing because today I am thankful for God’s protection.

About midnight I tucked myself into bed. As I lay awake waiting for Mr. Sandman, I found myself annoyed by noisy neighbors. I heard one of my roommates get up. She turned on the light in the hall.


Then I heard the keys jingling and the door unlock.

Very odd.

I opened the door into the hall to ask what was happening, but the question was answered before asked. Smoke was coming in under the door and the smell was unmistakeable.

“Great, the one night I go to bed early on Saturday night and I find myself  in a burning building in Ukraine,” or something to that effect went through my mind.

fighting the elevator fire
One of my roomates took this photo of our heroes of the evening.

The girls called the fire department and we waited for their arrival and instruction. We put on warm clothes and grabbed important documents and money expecting to find ourselves shivering in the damp, cold night.

(Perhaps the most disturbing thing is not knowing what is happening, where is the fire, is it safer inside or out? There are no fire alarms to warn you or pre-planned escape routes here. Thank God for my roommates!)

Some time passed and we received word that the elevator had caught on fire somehow. The firemen informed us they were handling the situation and it was best to remain in the apartment on the balcony with the windows open for fresh air. So we stood dressed in coats on our balcony. The funny side to me was that it is the only time I’ve been allowed to walk through the apartment with shoes on.

Somewhere around 2 a.m. things were winding down. We walked into the hall to watch four firefighters spray water down our elevator shaft. Behind them was a police officer, and according to one roommate, some guy taking photos.

The last I looked at my clock it was past 3 a.m. We left the windows open in hopes of getting rid of the overwhelming smell that infiltrated our apartment. I went to sleep huddled under ever blanket I own and with a moist towel wrapped around my face to avoid breathing in the smokey air.

All of that to say that I am very thankful today. I’m thankful for God’s protection, that no one was hurt and nothing in our apartment was damaged. The awful smell lingers, but I know it will eventually go away. I’m thankful for roommates that can speak the language and I’m really, really thankful they were home.

Just in case you are wondering, this is what the elevator now looks like:

burnt elevator
The burned, mangled remains of our elevator


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