On Wednesday April 29, 2020 there was a fire at my apartment complex. Wednesday started out as a normal day for me but ended in a way I never expected. Early afternoon I started to smell smoke so I walked around my apartment and figured out it was coming from the bathroom. I was nervous for a second because I thought something in my place had caught on fire. My candles were burning just fine, I checked my stove and all the eyes were off.
So then I stepped outside and I see my neighbor and we both asked each other if we smelled smoke. She told me her smell was strong in the living room. Another neighbor, who I’ve never seen popped up and asked if we smelled smoke and I told him yes, in my bathroom I did. His smell was coming from the kitchen. Prior to even smelling the smoke I heard a loud boom, which I didn’t think was anything bad, I just assumed it was someone dropping something heavy. Later on I found out from my neighbor who said the smell was coming from her living room, she told me it was our other neighbors vape pen that exploded.
Thankfully the people who lived in the apartment weren’t home, unfortunately their cats didn’t make it. The Fire Department arrived and cleared out the smoke. I couldn’t stay in my apartment because of the smokey smell. Even with me airing my place with the door open, windows, and fans going while the firefighters did their job. The leasing people didn’t even communicate with the fire department from what I could see when I was outside waiting in the parking lot/side walk area outside of my actual building.
Living in my space isn’t safe anymore. What makes it worse is that my leasing office hasn’t said anything to anyone about the fire or how to help. They haven’t offered to move those who were affected last Wednesday. I’m disappointed and ready to move. I can’t live in a place with the smell of smoke. I’ve been back and forth from my place to air it out as much as I could and I’ve been staying at my parents but that’s not enough.
I didn’t realize until yesterday when I went to clean it from top to bottom that my anxiety would come so strongly. I want you to imagine everything smelling like smoke. Not knowing what does and doesn’t smell like smoke so you clean everything. Even in areas where the smell wasn’t as strong I smelled smoke. In closets, on my clothes, walking through the door. I cleaned everything and still the smell was there. I have carpet, so the soot and smell of smoke will be stuck there until the carpets are pulled up. Cleaning my bathroom tile and seeing the soot come off took me over the top. I couldn’t believe it. I knew it would probably have a little soot but the more I wiped I felt like the sponge was dirty and I just sprayed it with my cleaning spray and started wiping. Tears were flowing and my breathing wasn’t even.
How is this possible? I loved my place simply because it’s mine. It is quiet. Forgetting all the negative things that I’ve experienced while being a resident at my complex I don’t feel safe. This incident has made me want to move even more, and let’s not forget that my rent will be increased. A few days before the fire, my complex sent out an email stating the follow, “As you know, your lease is about to expire and we have great news for you! In an effort to ease the burden to you caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering you a revised and reduced 12 month renewal! To increase flexibility for all, we are also offering you the option to renew on a month-to-month basis without any increase or premiums.” Am I missing something? How are you offering a “revised and reduced 12 month renewal” but rent is going up?! That’s not reduced. Reduced means less not more to make smaller not larger. Furthermore, if you’ve stated “…to ease the burden to you caused by COVID-19 Pandemic...” shouldn’t you as the leasing company help those who were just recently affected by the fire to which you haven’t sent out any emails about that at all. You aren’t easing any burdens if you can’t address the biggest issue, and if you know this pandemic is a problem, you’re not doing anything to make things easier for your residents. How is it that you’re still able to take rent from the people who were affected by the fire and not contact them in anyway shape or form, but then expect a new lease to be signed? Shaking my head.
This is all so sad, unfortunate and unfair. I just want to be back home in a safe environment, and this is in no way safe at all.