You expect to hear about car bombs in places such as Iraq or London. As a Canadian, I never thought I’d experience one while working at my computer in what should be the safety of my own home.

It was nearing 10 pm and I was hard at work on putting together books for my students. Suddenly I felt a large rumble beneath me, and I heard an earth-shuddering bang! I stopped what I was doing, thought “Huh. That can’t just have been the neighbours,” and listened. A few seconds later I heard a woman scream “Fire!” and, a few seconds after that, the fire alarm went off.

Unlike previous fire alarms, this one was definitely real. The first thing I grabbed was Conan, the second thing I grabbed was my laptop. Then I left the apartment and went outside. My neighbours were all hanging out chatting with one another, each of us speculating what may have just happened. The firetrucks showed, the police came, and we all knew that something was definitely up.

At first, all we knew was that a car had exploded in the underground parking. When the police interviewed everyone asking if they had seen anyone running out of the parkade, we all knew it was bigger than we thought. It turned out that someone stole a car, drove it into the underground (the gate has been broken for months), and set it ablaze. It was done purposefully to make an explosion, but no one knows to what end it was intended.

If I hadn’t been home my dog would now be dead. The smoke was so bad in my apartment that, when I first tried to come home, I couldn’t see. He would have died from smoke inhalation, and I would have come home to bury him. I’m very thankful that I chose to stay home tonight to get some work done rather than go out to a movie.

I personally won’t be sleeping easily tonight. Knowing that someone wanted to hurt someone so badly that they were willing to hurt everyone else in the process isn’t easily forgotten. It’s hard to believe that there are people in this world that live with this threat every day.

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