May 31, 2012

This is a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who helped me escape a fire Monday afternoon at my office at the University of California building in the District’s Scott Circle neighborhood. About 5:30, I found myself trapped by smoke with no escape, so I smashed through the window of my third-floor office. A crowd gathered as I stood anxiously with one foot on the ledge, the other inside my shattered window. They repeatedly urged me to hold on and assured me that help was on the way.

Some students in my building searched desperately for a ladder. A crowd also gathered at the Beacon Hotel across the street. One man came as close as he could, asking my name to engage me in conversation to make sure that I kept it together. Although I was bleeding from the glass and sickened by the smoke fumes, thanks to the compassion and concern of the crowd, I held it together until the fire department arrived.

If anyone who was there reads this, I want you to know that I am fine. (I received some oxygen at the hospital and “glue’’ for my cuts, but I returned home mostly unscathed.)

I also want those who were there to know how much their support helped me through a harrowing time.

Marc Sandalow, Bethesda