My family and I were leisurely enjoying a recent Saturday morning, when the fire alarms started going off throughout our multifamily home. After a few moments of trying to figure out what could be happening, we called 911, and I was calmly guided by an operator who immediately transferred our call while I chaotically gathered three kids, a dog and shoes. We then went outside to wait for first responders. By the time we made it outside, the first truck had arrived. Within minutes, approximately 10 vehicles had responded and were in action.
After a thorough investigation, no fire was found, but a slight scent detected by firefighters in our basement had them turn off our boiler and, before leaving, they advised us to call PSE&G to take a look before turning it back on.
By noon the same day, PSE&G had Bill Spedding, a gas service technician out of Jersey City, physically at our house to investigate. We didn’t think someone would come so quickly. He confirmed we had a small gas leak and proceeded to patch it up until we are able to have the boiler replaced.
To say that all these people were incredible is the biggest understatement. The Jersey City Fire Department rushed in and did their job without hesitation about the coronavirus and how we could be exposing them. We all kept our distance to keep everyone safe. Before leaving, firefighters reassured us and also advised us to call back if it happened again … even if it happened 10 more times.
PSE&G responded quickly and sent someone over with appropriate personal protective equipment. He calmly assessed the situation, politely informed my husband of their safety COVID-19 protocols and knowledgeably walked my husband through his findings and remedial actions.
We are incredibly lucky that things turned out the way they did. To imagine the alternative, especially as our family spends nearly 24 hours a day indoors in response to the pandemic, left us pretty shaken.
I know this is just one of the many examples of essential workers doing their jobs. But we cannot emphasize enough how grateful our family is for these heroes.
We hope all of those men and women know how valuable they are.
Top photo: The Labarta family