The Smoke Alarm Saga

The story of my smoke alarm is an interesting one. Interesting, not because of the predictable nature of what smoke alarms do but more because of how long, drawn out and ridiculous this saga has been.

It began shortly after I moved in. I can’t remember what I was baking at the time…perhaps just a frozen pizza or maybe chocolate chip cookies, but upon opening the oven door and putting the food in, the smoke alarm went off. I didn’t really understand it at first. I mean, there was no smoke and not even steam. The only conclusion I could come to was that it was the heat that was setting it off.

Knowing that I was not going to deal with this problem immediately, I got into a routine where I would swing the oven door open, practically throw whatever it was that I was baking in there and slam the oven door shut, all in about 1.5 seconds. Sometimes, if my timing was a bit off, I would follow the above routine with a quick sprint over to the smoke alarm, armed with a magazine and would frantically wave the magazine in hopes of warding off the gods inside the smoke alarm. Most times, it would work and during the times it didn’t, I would simply wave that magazine with all of my might and hope the incessant beeping would stop.

I finally addressed this safety concern with my property manager who, although admitted that many people had these problems, it would be my responsibility to pay to have the smoke detector people come in to look at it. I don’t think so! I told her I would simply wait until the next building inspection came along and wait to see what they found then.

When the next building inspection came around, I told them what the problem was and they confirmed what I had suspected and mentioned that many others in the building were experiencing the same thing. They then suggested that I “clean out” my smoke alarm because the dust could be triggering the alarm but aside from that nothing was wrong. None of that made any sense to me so I didn’t bother doing anything.

I was then informed by letter that upon inspection of my smoke alarm, it was determined that there was a malfunction and that I would have to replace it by a specified date with my own money. With steam coming out of my ears, I marched downstairs to speak to the property manager. She informed me that not only was it happening to others in the building but also to her in her own unit!! She then told me I didn’t have to pay anything and that the inspectors would come back to look at the smoke alarms of those who had problems.

I didn’t hear much about it until one day, there was a knock at my door. I was on the phone but answered it to find a repair guy who simply said “smoke alarm” to me, walked in, set up his ladder and changed the alarm within 5 minutes.

Fantastic! My problems were solved! I still had difficulty of shaking my frantic habit of whipping the food in and out of the oven in record time. Finally, last night, I decided to take my time (like a normal person). I opened the oven door, and slowly removed my pizza. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Ah well! Better super safe than sorry!



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