A person at work told a story earlier this week, about coming home in the middle of the night and noticing a neighbor’s house on fire(!). He called 911, and I guess it was quite an ordeal. Within minutes the neighborhood was simply lousy with fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, etc. Everyone was safe, he said, but the house suffered Big Damage.
And I started thinking about 911… In my entire life I believe I’ve only called it three times.
In Atlanta Toney and I were sitting at a red light one afternoon, and watched in disbelief as a car came screaming through the intersection, clipped the rear bumper of another vehicle, and went airborne. It was an amazing thing to behold; that hick-wagon was corkscrewing like something off The Dukes of Hazzard.
I instantly called 911 on my comically oversized “car phone,” and they said they already knew about it, but thanks. Shit, man… only ten seconds had passed. Wotta ripoff.
Also in Atlanta someone knocked the driver’s window out of my car one night, and helped themselves to my in-dash stereo, as well as the coins on the console. Grrr….
I called 911 when I first realized what happened, and was still charged-up and frantic. But they weren’t impressed. I was transferred to some kind of hall-of-mirrors voicemail system, and prompted to “press one for breaking and entering, two for assault, three for car theft,” etc. And if you think I’m joking, you would be sadly mistaken.
I also had a basket of laundry stolen off the backseat of my car in Atlanta. But I didn’t call the cops for that one. Why bother? That city is a swirling cesspool of crime. They couldn’t give a single dingle about the theft of my perfectly faded jean jacket. You know, since somebody probably had their skin flayed-off, a few doors down. But I cared, and it still pisses me off.
And a couple of years ago I went into our basement here, and it smelled strongly of lighter fluid. Or something along those lines. I thought there was a leak of some sort, and the whole place was about to go up in a big mushroom cloud.
I didn’t want to call 911, so I took time to find the non-emergency number at the fire department (not an easy task). But they still answered, “Emergency services! What is your emergency?”
I tried to downplay it, and tell them it was probably nothing. But they sent a whole team of fire trucks, sirens a-blaring. This, of course, brought all our neighbors out, and triggered much neck-stretching.
It was a crazy scene. One of the firemen jumped off the truck with an axe in his hand! If the front door had been closed, I think he would’ve knocked it down. He looked like he was just itching to knock something down.
It turned out someone had illegally dumped some sort of chemical down the sewer, and the smell was coming up in our basement. I didn’t care for it, not one tiny bit.
So, those are the three times I’ve called 911. What about you? Have you ever had to call those folks? What were the circumstances? And how did it turn out?
Use the comments link below to tell us all about it.
And I’ll be back soon.
Big Bear In OH says
I’ve got a couple to add….the first one was when I was about 16, I called because we had a car in the pool parking lot next door, and there was definitely something bad going on over there…4 sketchy guys sitting there with a pair of binoculars, all wearing jackets in the middle of a humid ohio summer. Turns out they were casing the neighbor’s house as they loaded up for vacation. Second time was just this last year, we had a new neighbor in the apartments across the street who decided to yell a few choice words at some young children playing baseball in a field next door while my folks were barbecuing at my place…my dad has no tolerance for that, and decided to go talk to the guy about his choice of words. Trouble ensued and the guy came down to “put a beating on whitey’s old ass”. Problem is, my father happens to be a Concealed Carry Permit holder, who thought that his life was in danger, so the neighbor ended up staring at the wrong end of a .45. Police did not like seeing my dad with a guy on the ground at gunpoint, but understood after they ran the guy’s name…4 prior warrants out, and a small amount of hard drugs on him, with a lot more running through his system. Small town Ohio at it’s best.
Called 911 4 times. First time was when I started a brush fire at a campground when my bbg grill got hit by a gust of wind and started a hillside on fire.
Second was when a ballast in my office started smoking and caught the ceiling on fire.
Third was at the same office when a big ass grizzly bear walked by early one Sunday morning.
Last time was a few weeks ago on a road trip from Seattle to New York. Middle of the night in Gillette, Wyoming, a pickup truck was just parked in the middle of the freeway with no lights on.
They responded fast to the fires, and REALLY fast for the bear. The police ended up following the bear down the road, lights flashing, until it got far enough out of town not to cause any problems.
Mrs. Wally says
Called 911 in the parking lot of Wal-mart once when some mullet sportin’ redneck was smacking around his fat ugly girlfriend. They were cuffinh him and throwing him in the back of a squad car when I exited with my purchases.
Wally and I called one night because our lovely neighbors decided to piss off their balcony at 3 in the morning almost directly into our bedroom window and onto our sleeping heads. I yelled out the window about not being a douche bag. That musta pissed him off because he and all his budies started throwing rocks and trying to break into the apartment to kick my ass. We soon moved.
Now, I manage an apartment complex and have a cop who lives here and several more on speed dial in my cell phone. Life is good! I get immediate response for all y noise complaints/ ghetto people who don’t belong sightings.
On the other side of the drama is the actual firefighter/medics (which is what my husband does). You wouldn’t believe some of the reasons people call 911.
One night after a huge fire and being awake for a full 72 shift, my husband finally laid his head down at 3:00am, only to be awakened to another call. When he got there, it was a mother who was frantic because her and her daughter had been watching TV and the daughters legs fell asleep from the way she was sitting on the couch.
when i was a kid my father went to take me to school only to find that his car had been stolen. he called 911 and took me to the bus stop so i’d only be a little late. we get to the bus stop and there’s the car, in the parkinglot of a gas station/garage that was a well known chopshop. my dad calls his friend who’s a DEA officer and the two of them put the BEATING on the owner of the shop. when the cops came they wanted to arrest my dad but… well having a DEA officer as a whitness and the fact that it was his car he got to drive away.
after they replaced the window where my dad smashed the thief’s head through.
and gave him new tires.
I used to work at a gas station and we were constantly calling 911 … wrecks on the street outside, kid got sprayed in the face with gas because her father wasn’t watching her while she took the pump out of the car … people stealing … you name it.
I used to live in Amsterdam, and their 911 is actually dialed “112.” I had to dial it once because I saw a guy get hit by a car while he was biking. That happens all the time there. He was ok, fortunately.
Two times for 911.
The first time I was doing something on the computer and accidentally dialed 911. I didn’t know it had happened so then I continued dialing to log on to the Internet. Well, a couple of minutes later there is a policeman at my door. Turns out that the 911 dispatcher tried to call me back because they got a “hang-up” call and the line was busy (I was on the Internet). So, the officer just asked a couple of questionsto make sure I was okay . . . how embarrassing.
Second time I called was for an RV on fire. I was using a cell phone with a “714” area code trying to call 911 in the middle of Nevada. All I could tell them is . . . “We have bad reception . . . burning RV on I-95 in Esmeralda County . . . mile marker ###”
Marlee ~ says
Called ‘911’ once …..I got put on ‘hold’ ah yeah lifes good in Ferndale ..
Grab me another ‘guiness’ I can handle this one myself
Dialed 800-Grab-DUI once when I saw toddlers walking around the back of a swerving drunk’s car. Sadly we were near a highway interchange and there was almost no way for him/her to get caught when I couldn’t see which direction they were headed…
Son dialed 911 as an infant. I hung it up hoping it hadn’t gone through yet. Cop showed up 2 minutes later. Oh the humiliation… especially when your hubby is a cop. I’m one of ‘those’ moms now.
I called the fire dept once when I smelled something burning in our basement. Me and my 2-yr old daughter headed outside to await their arrival. A couple of fire engines arrived very quickly (since the station was just a few blocks away). The funny thing was, my mother also pulled up in her car. She said she heard the fire engines go by her house (also a few streets away) and she had a ‘feeling’ they were headed to our house.
It turned out some big, old fuse attached to our dryer had started a melt-down which caused the bakelite on it to melt. Thus the smell. The firemen felt all along the walls to make sure nothing was on fire within them.
The second time was when we came along a car that had left the road, smashed down a metal fence and travelled some 100′ into a field. We pulled over and someone came running up asking if anyone knew CPR. I was ‘it’ and had to climb what was left of the fence with trembling legs not knowing what I was going to see. I got there and the woman driver was clearly still breathing but had a probable concussion. All I had to do was make sure she stayed there (she kept trying to leave the scene) until the emergency vehicles arrived.
I don’t think I’ve ever called 911, although I have called the police a few times.
1) When I lived in SF and saw a man standing in the window directly across the street from me with binoculars looking into my apt. Got the advice of “close your blinds.” Apparently, you can be a peeping tom if you’re in your own house. Nice, eh?
2) 3 times at current apt for noise from the bars a quarter of a mile away – again, absolutely nothing done about it. I’ve talked to other neighbors and they’ve called multiple times as well, all with the same result – thank God for 2:00 a.m. bar closing time.
3) Years ago, I rented a condo with another girl. The woman who lived downstairs died and her complete white trash thieving daughter moved in (stole an angora sweater from me). She left her toddler in the car one hot summer day with the windows up. At least three different cop cars showed up and carted her ass away, as the kid was still in the car when they got there. She was known by the cops because she used to steal diapers from the local Target.
4) Not me, but my nephew called the cops one day last year about a drunk driver. He followed the driver at a safe distance monitoring the driver’s movements until the cops caught up.