Fire on the Balcony!

Pyromania is an impulse control disorder in which an individual repeatedly fails to resist the desire to deliberately start fires, in order to relieve tension and gain instant gratification.  Setting fires induces euphoria in a pyromaniac who may tend to fixate on institutions of fire control like fire houses and firefighters.

January 2020 -The siren rang while I was sleeping; admittedly, I recently taped over the alarm inside my door to tame down the tone which was deafening, but I still hear it. We residents have become resistant when it comes to the threat; there have been many false alerts these past few years. However, when I heard over the intercom firefighters were battling a blaze on an 8th floor balcony and that we should all stay in place until further notice, I was concerned. That’s my floor! Certainly it is the work of the man who lives upstairs somewhere above my friend’s apartment at the end of the hall!


It’s not the first time that balcony has been lite by flames dropped from overhead and we think it was the resident pyromaniac himself who knocked on Norm’s door late one night last year to say that he’d been looking down and noticed my friend’s fake tree was on fire. Just a small flame and extinguished without professional aid, but later, upon investigation, we found a piece of charred paper in the plant container. Not simply an accidental incident caused by a tossed cigarette butt, but a deliberate deed. Difficult to pinpoint, the culprit is quick and elusive, dropping off his firebombs before ducking back under the cover of his balcony and no-one is quite sure which floor he’s on but several have seen him at work and the superintendent has been informed more than once. His response to me was to put it in writing, so that’s what I am doing, but if the whole place goes down in a blazing glory, how will he feel and who would be to blame? Our lives are at stake!

Then came the clatter and banging in the hallway and pounding upon Norm’s door; had he been a minute slower to raise from his bed the fireman said they’d have knocked it down. I didn’t smell smoke, but an image from a recent newscast popped to mind prohibiting me from opening my balcony door to lean over and have a look, as I normally would. I recalled the terrible fire back in November in North York, one dead and over a hundred displaced for months, out with only the clothes on their backs. So, I changed from pajamas to street clothes, placed my dog on the bed as preparation for a possible quick departure (what to do with cat?). I put on my socks, boots, and jacket, checking for the key in the pocket and adding my identification and bank card (40 dollars in my account which I might need). When I finally got the courage to open the door and check the hallway I was told the fire was out and everyone was okay and I informed one of the firefighter’s  that there was a pyromaniac in the building; for the record. Duly noted! Norm was forced to throw out his wicker furniture and now his balcony is totally empty and he hasn’t the money to replace everything. Next day, we received flyers folded and stuck in our doors regarding safe balcony rules.  No barbecues, don’t throw butts, don’t use as storage due to fire hazard, and do not leave children and pets unattended. However, no-where was it written that pyromaniac behavior is prohibited and will be prosecuted as it should!


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