In the small residential compound where I rented a casita in VeraCruz, Panama Pacifico, Panama, we have a head groundskeeper cum security guard cum maintenance man, who handles the basic maintenance items. They call in a specialist for complicated stuff.
One fine evening, I was sitting in my living room, sewing. See, my little house (casita) is half of our duplex. The maintenance man, Luis and his family of five children and his brother, live in the other half. I was quietly sewing when there was a tremendous BOOM. I thought the house had been shot – I not only HEARD the boom, I FELT it.
In moments of crisis, my husband immediately, with no hesitation, swings into action. I freeze and consider first. There are advantages and disadvantages to each reaction, depending on the particular circumstances. I concluded fairly quickly that it was not a gunshot. When I went to the kitchen, I caught the overwhelming odor of chlorine bleach.
Our complex is ocean-side. The business that is between our complex and the road is a fish farm. I thought briefly that THEY had an explosion of cleaning equipment or supplies – and then I heard someone next door coughing from the fumes.
I went out and around to the front of the house, and asked, in Spanish, if everyone was OK. Apparently (I figured out later) Luis or another family member had poured chlorine bleach down a drain (stopped up or NOT) and it EXPLODED. Fortunately, none of the five family members was in the room when it did it, so no one was burned or harmed by the exploding bleach – just some coughing as they opened the doors and windows to let the powerful fumes escape.
Think I will handle my own repair jobs from now on, thank you very much……………