A lot of our patients were wondering what was going on in front of our dental office today. We were expecting Hurricane Joaquin, but instead, the "Perfect Storm" of parking hit us.
First off, there was no alternate side parking, since today is Simchas Torah. In some places, that means parking is easier, but in Forest Hills, Queens, that means so few people leave their spaces that it becomes impossible.
On top of that, there was construction going on just across the street. Our neighbors decided to build a pool on top of their roof (an "in-roof pool" I guess you would call that?), so there was a crane in the middle of 68th Road.
So the traffic was noticeably slowed down, with the buses especially having trouble winding through, causing some back-up. On top of all that, a lady blew a flat tire right in front of the crane, shutting down a lane of 108th St, making things even worse. Yuo c
At this point, you're probably thinking "that's inconvenient, but you're exaggerating by calling it a 'perfect storm'." Well just about at the moment that our neighbor was pulling over with her flat tire, I started smelling smoke. I looked up and saw Joe, our in-house dental lab technician, working with on open flame, so I thought nothing of it. Usually, if something is burning, Joe is working on an implant, denture, or veneer case. But this smelled more like burning food, so I looked into our staff kitchen, where I saw someone toasting one of the bagels that one of our patients was sweet enough to bring us. So I figured it was the crumbs in the bottom of a toaster oven smoking.
Well that was when the three fire trucks pulled up in front of the building. Not only did that freak all of us out, it also effectively blocked traffic on 108th Street down to an eight foot passage across the intersection, which was still completely closed in the other direction.
I wandered out to the front of the building, where I saw one of our neighbors in the building, his face covered in soot, telling the firefighters that there was a raging fire in his apartment. It turned out that he had left a pot burning on the stove that had run dry. The firefighters had to stretch the hose in to his apartment, and eventually everything was contained. The video below shows the scene after the fire department had started to leave and things were getting back to normal, but the sheer number of unusual vehicles blocking that small intersection is kinda crazy.