College Student in Burning House Calls Parents — Not 911

Hi Readers: Please don’t think I’m posting this as a “blame the victim” story, as I myself don’t know if I’d keep my wits about me in a fire. The story, nonetheless, is this: A house shared by seven members of Boston University’s Sigma Alpha Mu went up in flames on Sunday morning:

BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins says his department received a call from a parent of one of the students in the apartment, whose first response was to call home. Robbins says he hopes that students learn to make their first and immediate call to 911 or to the BUPD at 617-353-2121. “We’ve got to get our number on the students’ radar,” he says. “It’s great that this person called a parent, but people in danger should call us first, then call a parent.”

I do fear that some kids may be so accustomed to calling their parents in times of distress that they don’t realize that their parents can’t solve every problem. It’s a shocking and sad reminder to teach our kids to depend on their wits and their community, not just mom and dad.

Meantime, I dearly hope the person who is in critical condition pulls through and lives a long and happy life. This story has me so sad. – L.

Call us first!

47 Responses to College Student in Burning House Calls Parents — Not 911

  1. disneywithchildren January 24, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    This is interesting. I would think we should teach our children that in a true emergency-life/death situation, call 911. On the other hand it is hard to know what one’s mindset will be like in a true emergency.

  2. Beth January 24, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    I work for a 911 center and you would not BELIEVE the kids who call their parents about something, and then the parents, most often from out-of-state, go through the hassle of finding our 10-digit phone number and then call us. It’s unreal. I want to tell them “If your child is grown up enough to go to college so far from home, then he/she should be calling 911 on his/her own.”

    What I *do* say is “Is there are reason he didn’t call 911 himself?” The answer, 9 out of 10 times in my unofficial experience, is “he was scared.” Ummmm…that’s when you call 911.

  3. Merrick January 24, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    I have to admit — I did this once. There was a creepy guy wandering around my apartment and he kept wandering onto the porch. I called my dad. He said ‘call the police.’ I was so wigged out that didn’t even occur to me!

  4. Lesley January 24, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Wow. That reminds me of when I was going over our anaphylaxis emergency plan with my daughter’s preschool. They had to ask if I wanted them to call me before calling 911, if my daughter had an allergic reaction, because apparently some parents are insistent about being called first. I said, screw that, call an ambulance.

  5. mollie January 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I recall that when I was 20 I had a little sign I made and taped to the receiver of my phone. It said, “Think before you dial.” It was meant to remind me to consider other ways to deal with my life and not to call my wonderful and wise dad every time I felt lonely or confused… but I certainly don’t think I would have called him first if my building were on fire.

  6. enyawface January 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    When I was 5, and in kindergarten, we were taught, that, in a fire, the first thing you do: If your on fire yourself, STOP DROP AND ROLL, if your in the building on fire, GET OUT, and ONLY AFTER call 911. We were also taught how to check doors for fire before opening them, stuff blankets, towels, our clothes under the door to stop smoke from coming in, and how to push the screen out of a window and if we could not climb out SHUT a curtain, towel or article of clothing so that it hangs out the window, then wait on the floor under the window to be rescued. WHY shut the window, so you don’t feed oxygen to the fire. Just don’t lock it, and of course, don’t shut it all the way if it is one of those STUPID AND TOTALLY DANGEROUS windows that locks shut for “safety”. That was 35 years ago, don’t kids today pay attention in class, or is that also against the rules to make them pay attention because it might damage them somehow?

  7. SKL January 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    I call my mom when I wonder how I’m going to survive my kids’ childhood. I call the guy with the tow truck / drain snake when I’m in a jam! Though when I was a college student, I didn’t have a phone, so . . . .

    When I was 17, I was babysitting a 1yo and his parents didn’t bother to tell me he had a nasty illness. He woke up gasping loudly for breath, and this went on for a while. I was afraid to call an ambulance because, what if it was not an emergency, and the young parents would be stuck with a huge bill (and think me crazy)? So I called my mom, who actually had good advice which solved the problem without medical intervention. Moms rock.

    I have had people call me to say, “some creepy / scary stuff is happening, and I wanted someone to know about it in case I disappear from the face of the earth.” The one who does this most often would probably go to jail for frivolous 911 calls if she called them first every time. Like, “hey, I called the cable guy and he said he would come at 10am and it’s 10am and someone’s knocking on the door. I am afraid it might be an untraceable ax murdering molester who eavesdrops on the cable guy’s calls. Wanted someone to know, just in case.”

  8. Donna January 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    There are cases where you call your parents for advice. You know that 911 is an option; you just don’t know whether to exercise it. When my daughter fell off a shopping cart head first, I called my mother to ask a second opinion on whether a hospital visit was necessary. I was in my late 30’s.

    A fire, however, is a different story. Your options are pretty much call 911 or put it out yourself. There isn’t a whole lot of room for other ideas.

    I particularly liked the officer saying “We’ve got to get our number on the students’ radar,” I don’t think police in a college town should really have to worry about getting 911 on the students’ radar. It should have been on their radar since elementary school.

  9. Rachel January 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    When the children of a friend of mine, were younger, there was a fire on the boat where they were staying. Not only did they NOT call their mom (who had gone out), but they called 911, and put out the fire on their own.

    They were between the ages of 8-11 then.

  10. talesofacrazypsychmajor January 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    I did something like this once, except with a carbon monoxide alarm. In my case the reason was because it had been drilled into my head so many times that you should not use 911 frivolously I was scared to call since I was worried my alarm was just malfunctioning since mine was the only one in the building going off. Turned out it was a legit issue, but I think there is a problem that it can be difficult at times to evaluate when something is an “emergency” worthy of 911

  11. BMS January 24, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    I don’t own a cell phone. When babysitters look at me askance because of this I tend to say, “Look, if someone is bleeding call 911. If the house is on fire, leave, then call 911. If they are being brats, send them to their rooms.”

    If I am actually going out, to the point that I bother with a babysitter, I am usually going to a show or some other venue where cell phones ringing would be inappropriate. So even if I had a cell, it would be off. Wayyyy back in the dark ages (1985) when I was a 12 year old sitter, the parents did not have cell phones, and somehow all my charges survived. If I’m escaping my kids, I don’t want to be found. If the house is on fire, what the hell am I going to do about it anyhow?

  12. Danielle F January 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    I get the “don’t make frivolous 911 calls” and I get being so scared you don’t know what to do, so you call your dad. What I don’t get is why the PARENT ended up calling the police?? My dad would have been like “What am I supposed to do? I’m x miles away! Hang up and call the fire department!” he then of course would get dressed and come find me, cuz he’s caring like that. But he would not call the emergency personell himself. That’s a little ridiculous.

  13. MaeMae January 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    Even my 13 year old knows when I can’t help her. Her Kindle broke and instead of calling me at work she called Amazon to have them troubleshoot it. They couldn’t get it working so she found all the warranty information in our filing cabinet and arranged for them to send a new one. She even asked them to overnight it for her because she has school books on there (she’s homeschooled). I didn’t even know about it until the new Kindle arrived the next day.

  14. Elisa January 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    It must be nice to know you would do exactly the right thing in a terrifying situation.

  15. Beth January 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Danielle, exactly!

  16. BMS January 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    I remember reading something about a Catholic priest who had a card in his wallet that said “I am a Catholic priest. In case of emergency – CALL A DOCTOR!”

    One of the things I really like about cub scouts is the constant reinforcement of emergency preparedness. Not in a ‘ohmygod! Panic because the world is out to get you!!!’ way but in a, “Here’s how to stay calm and what to do in an emergency” kind of way. Not that you need scouting to teach this, but there is a lot of benefit to having kids check their home for hazards, develop their own fire escape plan, practice dialing 911 and what they would say, discuss the importance of staying calm in emergencies, basic first aid, etc. When we had an oven fire a couple years ago, I think they were more calm than I was as we stood outside waiting for the fire truck. (I waited until the next day to call my mom – mostly to discuss the boneheadedness of my spouse for putting the oven on cleaning cycle without taking various things out of it first)

  17. Buffy January 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Elisa, a college student who is not living at home, and probably not even in the same city as “home”, should be mature enough to know that calling Mom and Dad when the house is on fire is NOT the right decision. Mom and Dad should know to tell their student to hang up and call 911.

    It’s not a matter of “exactly the right thing”; it’s a matter of common sense and handling emergencies like the grown-ups you allegedly are.

  18. Cheryl W January 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Now, I don’t know when the person called the parents, did they get out first and then call? I want to assume that in a house full of people who probably each grabbed a phone that was beside their pillows,that they each thought that someone else had called.

    Kind of like if you are at a restaurant and it is burning down – you assume that someone else already made that call. Or when you see an accident along the road and there is a line of traffic….

  19. pentamom January 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Good point indeed, Danielle!

    It makes sense to me for someone who has not lived away from family very long to call parents or friends in a non-immediate emergency — i.e., “What do I do with this kid who is not morally hurt?” The distant friend/relative can’t “do” anything, but they can give advice. But not when the building is on fire.

    As for the babysitter thing, I dunno, I get the part about “call 911, I can’t do anything,” but if I were out without my kids and something happened, I’d sure not want to walk into an empty house two hours later to find a note saying, “We’re at the ER.” AFTER 911 was called, I’d want to be contacted. That’s why, when we’re at thing where it’s not appropriate to receive calls or message, I put my phone on “airplane” and check it at convenient times (intermission, etc.) Yes, the world would not end if I could not do that, but I consider it desirable to be reachable if necessary — which it never has been.

    I understand not everyone wants or needs a cell phone and that we survived before they existed, but IMO it’s actually *better* that parents can be contacted if there’s an emergency with their kids, even if someone other than the parents is first needed for immediate aid. That’s not a reason in itself to get a cell phone if you don’t want one, because yes, you can survive even those situations without one, but it doesn’t strike me as ridiculous to think it’s important to be able to contact the parents.

  20. pentamom January 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    That should be “not mortally hurt,” not “not morally hurt.”

  21. RobynHeud January 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    @MaeMae, mad props for your daughter being so capable. You’ve obviously taught her well and I can only hope that my own children will be as self-sufficient.

  22. mollie January 25, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    I remember my parents always leaving the sitter the number of the home they were heading to, or the restaurant, hell, even the movie theatre, because back then, you could call a movie theatre and talk to someone who was on site.

    My parents were certainly about as Free Range as they come, but when they went out, they left a number, even in those pre-cell-phone days. I’m sure one of the numbers they left was our next-door-neighbour, who had the unfortunate experience of being an MD who lived next door to a family of hapless klutzes forever requiring first aid.

    It’s not that before cell phones nobody tried to track down parents who were out for the night. Remember those scenes in movies and TV shows where a phone would be brought to the table in the restaurant?

  23. mike January 25, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    I’m kind of surprised they thought to get on the phone to call anyone first. These days I assume a college kid’s first reaction is to Facebook and/or Tweet the emergency.

  24. Samantha M. January 25, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    My Dad called 000 (the Australian version of 911) when he thought he was having a heart attack, turns out it was indigestion. He was so embarrassed and kept apologizing the the ambulance guys, who said they’d rather be called out to 100 indigestion cases than not be called out to heart attacks.

    As a side note, the prevalence of US movies in Australia has led to a number of young people actually calling 911 in Australia in emergencies as their families never taught them the correct numbers they had to follow what the movies taught them instead. When in doubt ring your emergency services.

  25. bdh January 25, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Mollie, you beat me to my point. Back in the old days when I babysat I was always left with a list with phone numbers which included where the parents were going, neighbors, and emergency numbers (yes, some even wrote down 911). Of course, I often called my mom for how to handle little things like colicky babies or cooking instructions.

    When my kids were young and we went out we did the same thing – a list with our cell numbers, the name and number of where we were going, close friends, and neighbors. My kids are now old enough to be left home alone, but we still do the same thing for them if we go out for a date without them. They have been instructed how/when to use 911, as well as basic emergency protocols (we live in earthquake country – no way of predicting them). I can only hope they keep their wits about them to use their critical thinking skills properly.

  26. BMS January 25, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    For the record, I do tell sitters where I am going, and write down numbers if I have them. But if I am seeing a play, for example, how is anyone going to track me down in the middle of it? I leave neighbors’ numbers, doctor’s numbers, etc. If I am with my husband, he often has his cell (I say often, because he forgets to bring it/charge it/turn it on 9 times out of 10), but having the cell doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get us. So I guess my point is that I don’t want that being the babysitter’s first line of defense in an emergency, and I don’t want to be bothered for nonemergency stuff.

  27. MaeMae January 25, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    @RobynHeud -Thanks!

  28. A Consummate Generalist January 25, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    I can relate. When my 18 month old fell down on the kitchen floor and proceeded to have her first seizure, I picked up the phone and call my husband. He had the presence of mind to very calmly but firmly say ‘hang up and dial 911 – NOW’ and then rush home from work. But, i do have to say that in a fire I would know what to do. No one prepped me for how to handle a seizure . . .

  29. Donna January 25, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    What I’m most amazed about is the PARENTS reaction. You can’t call 911 in one city (or state) and directly reach 911 in another. So, unless the parents live in the same town, they had to either look up a number to call the fire department in another city (or state) and then dial that number or they had already looked up and had at easy access the number for emergency services in the adult children’s location.

    I can somewhat understand the panicked young adult in the fire not thinking clearly and calling her parents instead of 911. But the parent should have told the kid to hang up the phone and call 911. The fact that, rather than doing that, the parents called, in a more difficult and time consuming manner, speaks volumes to the expectations that the parents will take care of everything and the “children” have no responsibility but to call the parents, even as adults.

  30. Lollipoplover January 25, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    @Donna- the parents reaction IS the most frightening part of this sad story. Time is precious in a fire…calling parents first before emergency is sheer stupidity. This isn’t a “Should I go on spring break to Cancun or Dayton?” type conversation.

    On the fire note, we recently got a phone solicitation for a service that hooks up your fire alarms in your house to the local fire department. After hearing the sales pitch, I laughed because I set off our fire alarm constantly with my questionable cooking and getting a visit from the fire department would be humiliating. “Burnt the cookies again??”

  31. Havva January 25, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    There is always a risk that people will loose their heads during emergencies or not recognize the severity of their situation. My dad is a doctor and when he is out his answering machine as some point early in the message says “If this is a life threatening medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911.” I think I was 5 when I was instructed to say about the same thing to patients calling our house. Later the plan included telling people fixated on finding dad that the hospital would find him, but they needed EMTs now.

    Once I even heard my dad tell a neighbor. “I’m coming, but you need an ambulance, call 911 NOW.”

    @mollie… neighbors like you were great for learning first aid, and knowing the difference between a scary accident and a real emergency.

  32. Beth January 25, 2012 at 3:18 am #

    Donna, as I mentioned above, you’d be amazed at how often that happens, at least in my city which has an undergraduate student population of about 30,000. I sometimes get calls from parents about non-emergencies as well, such as “My daughter’s apartment was broken into yesterday”. So yes, they have looked up (either at the time or ahead of time) the 10-digit non-emergency police/fire/EMS number for our county and called, rather than expecting their college-age student to do it on her own.

    Let me tell you though, the students have no problem calling the police themselves, in outrage, when a bouncer questions the validity of their ID! Mom and Dad don’t need to know about that little dilemma…..

  33. backroadsem January 25, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    Yeah, I can’t entirely blame the kid not knowing the full story–it could be sheer unthinking panic, assumption someone else called, etc. But it is very odd the parents made the call. My coworker’s adult daughter, several weeks ago, observed some kids having a big violent fight. I can see that as a “what should I do?” situation. She called my coworker, who told her to hang up and call the police and told her she was surprised that hadn’t been done first.

    The fact is that these kids are college students. Everyone freaks out and loses it every now and then, but it strikes me as wrong that someone can get to 18+ without developing some automatic reactions or some common sense. I am actually a big fan of drills–it means you’re prepared. Why did these technically-adult kids not have a plan?

  34. Michelle January 25, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Maybe when the kid called her parents she also mentioned another hurt person she was trying to help. I could see being the parent and saying, “Ok, you help Jill and I’ll call 911.” We don’t know the whole story. Certainly there could have been more efficient ways to handle it, but in an frightening emergency……

  35. Donna January 25, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    @ Michelle – Except for the fact that if that had been the situation, the fact that the parents called wouldn’t have been notable for the Police Chief. I think when we have to speculate major facts not given to make the actions of the people involved make rational sense, the actions of the people involved probably just didn’t make rational sense. Further, it is evident that this happens all the time from the Police Chief’s comments about needing to get their number on the students’ radar.

  36. baby-paramedic January 25, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    Sometimes we do the oddest things when we are panicked. I work in emergency services, I am failrly well equipped for dealing with emergency situations – and even I was at a loss in a recent incident (my car caught on fire. In the middle of nowhere. Used fire extinguisher – well, a random person who appeared from nowhere did, I was still processing car on fire- it looked out, but hard to tell with a car. Do I ring 000 even though I know it will take at least an hour for the fire truck to come, or do I wait for the tow truck driver – also an hour – and call fire brigade if it actually catches alight again?).
    I opted for the wait and see approach – turns out the fire was put out in time.
    It was quite an odd experience not knowing what to do!
    On the other side – we regularly are called out to small children calling about their parents etc. I have only heard one job go down that was called in from elsewhere – came through police located about 900kms away!

  37. Jenn January 25, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    This story is similar to a current radio ad for a service that ‘helps your child in an emergency’ because ‘even though you were there for her every step of the way, one day she may need you’. Essentially it’s an emergency contact list that automatically calls your number when your car is in an accident. The ad has a young woman phoning her dad to say she’s just been in a car accident and doesn’t know what to do. You can hear the distress in the voice so you don’t know if she’s hurt or just upset. My 7 year olds comment, “Boy that lady is stupid! You always call the police before you call your dad! But why is that lady calling her dad? I thought only grown ups were allowed to drive?”

  38. Taradlion January 25, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Part of not panicking in an emergency is temperament, but a huge piece is being prepared. Sometimes that means handling a situation, sometimes it means staying calm and knowing how to get help.

    I attended a college with its own police and emergency medical services. All the EMT’s were college students. I became certified as a freshman, and then, I was 911. We had paramedic backup if we needed it (particularly to transport people on backboards), but we were called to all medical emergencies on campus (granted lots of alcohol poisoning, but everything from burns, to broken bones, to impaled glass bottles through the soles of chuck tayors – I got that call!). Before college I was a life guard and had first aid training, my mom hated the sight of blood, and so I dealt with my siblings injuries…some of it was my personality. I would not have sought out training if I didn’t want it or if I was someone to easily panic.

    I too remember being left with a restaurant phone number when babysitting. I did call my own mom for non-emergency problems (like the time the power went out… I propped the door open, got a citronella candle from outside, lit it on the gas stove, and then called my mom to bring flashlights and indoor candles. She did and then went back home.)

    Although I am guilty of texting my nanny things when I forget to leave a note :”kids have swimming at 4, not 4:30″…I get calls and text from my nanny and kids about really little stuff (stuff they handel when I can’t or DON’T respond). I also get calls from school, often more than one in rapid succession if I don’t answer, about things that pre-cell phone would not have warranted calls. The big thing is, the school EXPECTS to be able to reach someone immediately. When I was a kid, if my mom was out grocery shopping, I had to wait in the nurses office until someone came home. We didn’t even have an answering machine!

  39. J.T. Wenting January 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Kids get “don’t talk to strangers, don’t trust strangers, strangers are evil” drilled into them from the crib.
    The person on the other end of that 911 call is a stranger…

    I wonder what they do when they need to talk to some staff at the college or in a store.

  40. JaneW January 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I’ve called my parents for talk or advice many times. None were emergencies. (Sometimes I called my parents to talk AFTER a bad situation.)

    I’ve only once called a parent to say, “Fix it,” and it was a situation my father was uniquely equipped to fix: I was on a bus, the driver was lost, and my father’s a map expert who works for a bus company.

  41. Jynet January 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Taradlion, on January 25, 2012 at 10:04 said:
    I also get calls from school, often more than one in rapid succession if I don’t answer, about things that pre-cell phone would not have warranted calls. The big thing is, the school EXPECTS to be able to reach someone immediately. When I was a kid, if my mom was out grocery shopping, I had to wait in the nurses office until someone came home. We didn’t even have an answering machine!

    —————–

    My daughter’s school did that too. But I think they always did. When I was a kid they called my mom (at home) and then if she wasn’t available they would try my dad’s office, get a blast from him about interrupting his work day, and then call my mom again. Now there are just more numbers to call. First home, then cell(s), then work(s), etc.

    Interestingly, my daughter got her cell phone when she was 9 (so she could meet me on the bus when we were both travelling on different buses in different directions – something we couldn’t have done with out them!), and we went through a long phase of the ‘multiple call syndrome’. She would call my cell, then my office, then my cell… and eventually leave a message. When my mom (60+ at the time) got HER cellphone she went through the same thing.

    I think it is part of the learning curve for new technology. Maybe the school will grow out of it too…

  42. KD January 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    I taught my kids early and frequently that in a real emergency such as a fire, bleeding, someone breaking in etc or even in those “I am not sure” cases to call 911 before my cell phone or anyone else’s number and that is so when they reach adult age we (hopefully) have given them the skills to know the difference. Now that they are older we let them know that their judgement is most important and to evaluate a situation and then make a decision based on what they know and if ever unsure, the same rule applies, call 911.
    As far as weird emergency reactions, I know of two (one was me) when the situation didn’t match the reaction. The teenage son of a friend of mine decided to “car surf” and fell off the vehicle. She called me saying “His arm is hanging at a funny angle and I can see bone, what should I do?” Umm, yeah call 911.
    When my husband passed out and hit his head over a year ago I called 911. The operator asked me if he was talking and I said yes. She THEN asked me if he was breathing. Well, in am emergency I tend to gravitate towards sarcasm and responded “Well I would assume that his ability to talk indicates breathing.” I was later mortified that I had responded like that…

  43. Puzzled January 26, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    I don’t think we should be teaching kids to call 911 in an emergency. The police will be happy to come later and count the bodies. If it’s a lesser emergency, bringing in the authorities tends to make things worse.

  44. Chris January 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    I’m not sure this is just a “helicopter-parented” issue. I regularly read outdoor accident reports, and I’ve seen a number in which lost or exposed hikers call a friend or relative in lieu of 911 to report their condition. I suspect the cause is probably some combination of denial (not wanting to believe the situation is as serious as it in fact is) and fear of consequences or disapproval should the authorities be called in.

  45. Tsu Dho Nimh January 29, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    My SO’s son did this when he was out of town … because he didn’t realize that his cell phone would call the local 9-1-1 dispatch, not the Phoenix area dispatch.

  46. miss_msry July 18, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    Too funny, I moved to a new city and didn’t have the money for a phone deposit; so just didn’t have one. My mother drove 5 hours to find out why I didn’t call. (Long before cell phones).

  47. Nicoline August 11, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    Geez. When my kids were little, I had one of those little whiteboard kind of things on which I wrote the number(s) where the sitter could reach me if s/he needed to. It came with 911 preprinted on it. I’ve never actually been called and I’m glad my kids don’t call me in emergencies. One of them is overseas, so chances are he’d call in the middle of the night and I wouldn’t be able to do anything anyway. The other one lives in the midwest (we’re on the East coast). The very first night after he’d moved out of the parental home and into a student apartment, a water pipe burst in the basement. He calmly waded to the main, shut it off and went back to bed, then called his landlord at a decent hour the next day. He didn’t tell us about it until a week or so later.