"Michael", she said, "my house if full of smoke, and my thing is beeping, and I don't know what to do".
Here I did the wrong thing, I went into the house. That could have been dangerous.
Of course I called 911. The dispatcher asked me a series of questions. It seems to me that this is necessary in the light of various hoax or prank calls. And it was important for the fire-fighters to know if anyone was still in the house, and/or if anyone was injured,
The SCFD was on its way in a matter of 45 seconds. The nearest firehouse is just over a mile away, and we could hear the sirens all the way up Circus Boulevard,
In turns out that D-awn had overcooked some food in her microwave, No harm was done (except to the food!).
D-awn is, to put it nicely, quite fuzzy around the edges, so I was glad to have arrived home just as her crisis began.
And to put it strongly, the firefighters were utterly splendid not only in their response to a possible fire, but in their tender and gracious service to D-awn. They soon had a huge fan in place to blow smoke out of her unit.
The Battalion Chief happened to be in the scene, so I was able to shake his hand and thank him for the response of his team.
Two other notes:
(1) It's clear to many of her neighbours that D-wn should not be living alone. Now, if only we could convince her one and only son that this is the case,
(2) My unit is at one and of a triplex, D-wns at the other end, And there is no firewall between the units. In a worse case secnario all three could be in a blazing inferno in a matter of minutes, That gives me pause for thought in the middle of the night.