An anonymous call
In the early 2000s I was straight out of college with a degree as a firefighter in New York. I was middle class and needed a decent job to pay my rent, so I chose my college major to work at a fire station. I also had a job as a janitor at a small groceries store so I was making a lot of money compared to what my parents got and was really confident.
Several months in to the job we received a call, I was friends with Stan the operator and could hear the conversation… ” There is a fire.” The voice on the phone sounded oddly neutral compared to most callers. ” Where are you located?” Stan asked. ” 160 Oaten lane, please help.” The voice sounded slightly more dramatic but was still strange as most callers were screaming or breathing heavily. The line went silent as soon as it was called. Stan put down the phone and tracked the location in a database on his computer, he told the directions and ordered me to drive there immediately because the line stopping instantly is not a good sign. I threw on my vest and thick red fire proof hat. In a rush I slid down the fire pole and bolted into a firetruck with my colleagues.
We sped out of the station and onto the main road, the address was to an abandoned building in queens. I expected that someone had got trapped inside and set off an old wire or knocked over flammable liquids from an old gas tank. After 4 minutes of driving we arrived at the address. Weirdly the building was very quiet and the air smelled clean. Our sirens were blaring quite furiously but I could hear shouting from inside.