Fire on the 5th floor

The other day, i started to think about the summers we used to spend at my grandparents in Ukraine.  Don’t ask where in Ukraine, even Russians have a hard time pronouncing the name, Dnepropetrovsk.  Yeap. They lived on the 5th floor of the apartment building, without an elevator as most buildings in Russia back then.

There was one hot, summer night in particular that keeps coming to mind.  My brother and I were sharing a bedroom, which was small but cozy.  I remember waking up to a lot of noise, and my grandmother running into our bedroom and pulling out her winter fur coats!  Like i said, this was a very hot summer night!  It almost seemed surreal, everything was so strange and confusing.  There were loud noises everywhere, people were yelling and that’s when i realized that there is smoke coming from outside.  The building was on fire, and we were waiting for the fire department to rescue us…

I saw firemen trying to climb up the ladder to get to us, as my grandma was covering us in fur coats.  I didn’t know it then, but apparently the firemen were having problems getting to us so my grandma’s instincts kicked in.  She figured we wouldn’t get burned while we waited to be rescued, if we had the coats on.  So, we stood there in the middle of the apartment sweating to death, watching as the building engulfed in flames.  Next thing I know, my Uncle brakes the front door down trying to get to us.  How he got there so fast from his own place, I have no clue, but to me he seemed like Superman at that moment!

I got a glimpse of the staircase as he ran in, and I knew there was no way were getting out through there…

Not sure if I breathed in too much smoke or panic took over me, but I can’t remember anything after that.  Somehow we all got out safe.  The whole building had bad damage, and it took a long time to get everything back to normal.  I still have no idea how we got out, and there are days when I think it was all a bad dream except for the obvious signs of fire in the apartment.

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