As I putzed around on the Internet & chatted with a friend tonight, I mentioned to her, "My apartment smells like burning rubber. it's making me nervous."
A few minutes later, I stepped into the hallway & was about bowled over by the smell. A neighbor was knocking on people's doors, telling them the fire department was on their way to investigate a suspected gas leak.
The entire fifth floor (& a few nervous stragglers from elsewhere) spent the next hour or so on the front steps while a gaggle of firefighters checked it out. I met the woman who lived in my apartment for seven years in the '90s; the three hippieish guys who party a lot down the hall (including a very attractive one who just moved out); the homebody woman whom no one had ever seen (apparently she'll show her face in times of crisis, luckily); the new neighbor whose Netflix are often delivered to me...
As it turns out, the fiefighters couldn't find the source of the leak. They ventilated the whole floor to try to get rid of the smell, & they assured us that it was probably an errant spill that's already evaporated. I'll just say that that doesn't make me feel terribly comforted, & I probably won't go to bed until every last drop of that miserable scent leaves my nostrils.
Nothing like a home emergency to meet all your neighbors, huh? Feels like a little community now. A community of people whose throats are burning because they just breathed in a bunch of mysterious gas fumes.