I had to run out to the studio tonight to pin together a piece for Martha to stitch tomorrow. When I got there, I turned on the florescent lights and immediately heard a crackling sound followed by a burning smell. Yikes. I turned them off and turned on the flashlight that Rob had brought from the Boeing Surplus Store for me. No flames, no smoke. The smell continued to be bad. I called the building manager while the smell proceeded to get worse. He didn’t answer his cell phone, so I finally called the non-emergency fire department number to ask for advice.
They said that the only way to make certain that had not started an electrical fire was to send a team out to check. Moments later–I mean really, I had time to walk to the front of the building–a fire truck pulled up and four members of the fire department trooped inside.
One of them said, “Looks like Little Shop of Horrors,” and then, “Does it always smell like this?”
The consensus was that it was a light ballast gone bad, but that I’d done the right thing by calling to be certain. Whew.