Firing Off At You Over The Fire

| Birmingham, England, UK | Right | December 1, 2016

(I work the morning shift at a local corner shop. Every day around the same time I would smell a burning smell. I mention it to the manager who has people come in to check everything over but say there’s nothing to worry about. One morning the smell is even stronger than before. I call my manager over to ask her if she can smell anything. Before she can say anything she points behind me. The cupboard with all the electrics has white smoke pouring out the gaps of the door.)

Manager: “I’ll set the alarm. You get everyone out.”

(She runs to the alarm while I run around the shop to see if anyone is in. Being six am there isn’t so we both run out. My manager asks to borrow my phone to call 999. I hand her my phone and figure I should knock on all the doors to the shops and the residence above the shops next to us, though a man has already walked up to us at this point.)

Me: “Sorry, sir, there is a fire. You can’t come in.” *I go to start knocking on doors*

Man: “Wait, did you call 999?”

Me: “Yes, she’s doing it right now.” *I go to move again but he grabs my arm*

Man: “That’s white smoke; that would make it an electrical fire. Can you not just turn it off?”

Me: “The fire is on the switch to turn it off!”

(I give his arm a little shake but he steps in front of me.)

Man: “Could you not use a fire extinguisher?”

(I had thought of this, but as the fire was behind a door I didn’t want to cause a fire wave in my face with the rush of oxygen it would get.)

Me: “No. Please, I need—”

Man: “Need to get out of here? Just caring about your own a**? What about the people still asleep in the houses? Should you not warn them!?”

Me: *in my head* “I would be but I’m stood here talking to you!” *to Man* “I was just about to do that, sir…”

(At this point my manager has finished on my phone and hands it back to me.)

Manager: “Just make sure no one goes in except the fire people. I’ll go wake everyone up.”

(She runs off and the man is still standing next to me.)

Me: “Sir, if you could please move along. I don’t want anyone getting hurt.”

Man: “Sure, and when I leave you’ll just bolt. I’m staying right to make sure you do what your boss told you to do.”

(I chose to ignore him and waited for the emergency services which arrived in record time. I told them what the deal was and they dealt with it promptly. I saw the man walk off while giving me the ‘I’m watching you’ signal.)

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