Apartment Stories: What’s That Burning Smell?

Breakfast on the balcony

Above it all: Generally, it pays to be on one of the upper floors. But don’t be surprised if the occasional, odd balcony odor — like the smell of an overdone breakfast — tends to drift your way. (BobPetUK via Flickr)

I thought I was being smart when I rented my first apartment in the city.

I chose the third floor because my father always said the lower apartments get all the sewage problems from the upper units. Yuck, I was not going to deal with that.

My apartment was at the end of the hall and reasonably far from the elevator, so there wasn’t a lot of noise. The couples all around me were older, so I could be a little noisier without disturbing them. Plus, they looked out for me and my place as they were home all the time.

I’d been in the apartment almost a full week and was looking forward to sleeping in on my first Saturday.

Early Saturday morning, I smelled something burning. I jumped up to check the kitchen. Nothing was on the stove, and after a quick check around, I could find nothing burning. I even looked outside and didn’t see any smoke.

So, I went back to sleep.

About a half-hour later, I woke again to the same burning smell. I got up, checked everything again and found nothing burning. This went on all morning until I finally just slept on the couch. Later that morning, the mystery was solved.

I ran into my neighbor, the one below me, later in the day. He was complaining about his new toaster. He said he’d been trying to make his morning toast all day, but the toaster kept burning his bread.

He said that when it burned, he took the toaster and toast out on the balcony to cool off, and tried again about 30 minutes later. The smell of blackened toast came straight up to my balcony and in my open door. Ah, the mystery of the burning smell was solved.

I didn’t laugh then (that came later), but I did offer to look at his toaster and showed him the correct setting so he wouldn’t burn the toast anymore. This was his first new toaster in over 10 years, so he had no idea there was a setting.

I went back to my place knowing that I could sleep in the next morning without jumping out of bed every 30 minutes to play fireman. Plus, now my neighbor could enjoy his morning toast. All was right with the world.

Find an apartment that doesn’t smell like fire on apartmentshowcase.comĀ 

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