What Fire Alarm?
July 1990

“What Fire Alarm?” Ensign, July 1990, 58–59

What Fire Alarm?

The day started typically enough. I was sewing a dress for my two-year-old daughter, Nancy, and still enjoying the sense of accomplishment I felt after having made a suit for my five-year-old son, David, from one of my husband’s old suits. I would rather have gone to the store to buy clothes for my children, but we were on a tight budget. I knew, however, that this time of financial challenge was only temporary. My husband, Clifton, would soon be graduating from Ohio State University with his Ph.D.

Since there was an extreme housing shortage, I was grateful to be in our own little upstairs apartment, even though it was in a World War II army barracks that had been converted into married student housing.

Engrossed with my sewing project, I was startled back to reality by a loud fire alarm. I acted quickly, knowing that my children and I could be trapped upstairs in a wooden barracks apartment. I hurriedly picked up Nancy and took David by the hand. I opened the door and ran to the hallway stairs. They were clear, so we ran down the stairs and out of the building.

Sure enough, there was a fire in the furnace room directly below our apartment. Firemen were frantically working to put it out.

As we waited outside for them to subdue the fire, I noticed that no one else was standing outside the building but me and my children. I was curious. After the fire was out, I asked the firemen, dirty and exhausted from fighting the fire, why no one else had left the building when the fire alarm had sounded. When they told me there was no alarm in the building, I was speechless. I knew I had heard a fire alarm!

Did I imagine that alarm? Although no serious damage resulted from the fire, we had certainly been in danger, since our apartment was directly above it. This incident has become a testimony to me that the Spirit can be with us and warn us if necessary.

  • Carol Spendlove is a member of the Holladay Twelfth Ward, Salt Lake Mt. Olympus North Stake, where she serves as cultural arts specialist. She also serves as a docent at the Museum of Church History and Art.