This is what really happens when you have a wacky neighbor:

My neighbor's scorched bedspread

The photo above is the damage to my neighbor’s bedspread after he fell asleep (“passed out” is probably the more accurate term) with a lit cigarette.

I got home from a walk about 11:00 last night to find the entry corridor filled with hazy, foul-smelling smoke.  I called my landlord and tried to rouse my downstairs neighbor–besides me he’s the only one who lives in the building–but no amount of banging would bring him to the door.  Later I’d learn this was due to the drug-induced stupor.

When we figured out the smoke and the smell were coming from his apartment, my landlord went in and tried to wake him up.  Standing over him shouting as loud as possible didn’t work, so we elected to call the fire department and the paradmedics.

My neighbor got to ride in an ambulance and I got to meet some folks from the neighborhood while I waited for the fire department to finish up in our building.  They tell me his feet were all black and sooty, which means he probably woke up, stamped out the fire, and went back to sleep.

The fire must have been pretty big.  That burn in the photo is the size of a large serving platter, and there are scorch marks on his pillow as well.  So aside from sleeping for an hour or so in a room full of poisonous fumes and almost burning the building down, he came pretty close to burning alive in his bed.

I’ve met the guy a few times, and he’s always been friendly, though he’s also always been stoned or drunk or otherwise semi-coherent.  His conversation is generally peppered with apologies for “being really high.”  In general I have zero problem with that, but once you’ve almost burned down the building it’s time to reassess your relationship with recreational chemistry.

My apartment was undamaged.  I was worried about my two cats at first, but my place didn’t even get the smoky smell.


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