Bacon gone awry?
December 16, 2011 6:30 PM   Subscribe

My apartment building and apartment smell strongly of barbecue, like meat cooking. Sometimes I can smell good food smells from my downstairs neighbors as I walk by, but I can't usually smell it from inside my apartment. I guess what I would like to know is, um, is there some way I will know that my apartment building is on fire before it's too late to escape? Am I over-reacting?

What I would normally do is just go out for dinner and hope for the best but I will need to pack up my elderly cat if fleeing is indeed in order.

I just got home and didn't see anything suspicious on my way up the stairs. I live on floor 3 of 3. I'm not sure if any of my neighbors speak English (I'm in Chicago).

My clear-headed husband is unavailable to tell me what to do right now so I turn to you, interwebs.
posted by bleep to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
If I understand the question correctly, you're worried that those smells might be a fire? Or cover up the smell of fire? If it's either of those, don't worry. Your smoke detector will be able to tell the difference, and so will your nose. You would know it instantly if you smelled a building on fire - drywall burning doesn't smell anything like food/meat.
posted by facetious at 6:40 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

A burning building will not smell like barbeque. It will smell like burning wood and plastic and whatever other unappetizing things your house is made of.
posted by bethnull at 6:44 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

You do have working smoke detectors in your apartment and in the hallways right?
posted by edgeways at 6:46 PM on December 16, 2011

Response by poster: That's true, I guess I was just worried the strong smell was a fire in the making that I would not know about until it was too late. I traced the smell to an apt with lots of people making noise so I assume it's fine. I appreciate your reassurance.
posted by bleep at 6:47 PM on December 16, 2011

You will not smell barbeque in the event of a fire. It will be the smell of plastic hell burning. Pretty much everything we have and buy today is plasticish. Carpet, appliances, everything. It will burn and it will smell like heavy black burning plastic. You will know it.

Good reminder to change the batteries in your smoke alarms though.
posted by sanka at 7:12 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

When I was in LA during forest fire season a couple of years ago, I did think it smelled amazing at first -- like a campfire. It's possible that there's a wood fire nearby -- but if you're in Chicago in December, I doubt that's the case.
posted by kate blank at 9:44 PM on December 16, 2011

The apartment fire in my building some years ago was pretty noticeable. We heard the alarms go off, did our usual 'open the door and sniff' because some fuckwit was always pulling the damn alarm every couple weeks (I'd LOVE to know how much the managers were being fined by the FD...), and let me tell you that the smell of Burning Building is quite unlike any other. I have never wrapped a cat in a towel so fast in my life.

(Seriously, who the fuck uses a Weber grill in their kitchen?)
posted by Heretical at 1:23 AM on December 17, 2011

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