Last night, when I got home from the gym, I set out to make Heather's Stuffed Acorn Squash. I'd even done some prep work before going. It turned out very tasty. However, this involved cooking bacon. No, I did not set the house on fire. However, bacon does get smoky. We turned on the vent and opened the window. Ten minutes later, I set the stuffed squashes into the oven. The smoke detector immediately went off.
Now, this is not just the normal smoke detector annoying beep. This was an incredibly loud alarm(s). We sighed and opened up a few more windows. I stood under the smoke detector and waved around a towel to get air circulating. Three minutes later, loud noise still going on. Jake and I looked at each other, and said "this isn't normal." Jake began investigating the alarm system (which came with the house and we've never used). I grabbed a stool and started disassembling the smoke detector. I managed to yank out batteries from both detectors in the hall. I also managed to ram my head into the doorsill. Ow... the blaring alarm was not helping matters.
We couldn't figure it out. There was NO smoke in the house anymore and the alarms kept going. I finally found the ATD help line and called. Ten minutes later, we'd detached every wire, pulled every plug, and still the blasting continued. The lady finally said there must be another system involved and suggested turning off the circuit breaker for the whole house. (At this point I remembered the squash in the oven and rushed to save them.)
We hung up and flung every breaker. Now the house was pitch black. And yet the alarms continued. Tears of frustration were forming in my eyes. We finally yanked out disassembled the remaining smoke detectors (there were two others hiding around the house) and yanked their batteries. Silence. Blessed silence.
Moral of the story: when you move into a new place, make sure you know where all the smoke detectors are, to what system they are hooked, and how to turn them off.
Silver lining: if there ever is a fire, those things will wake us (and our neighbors) up.