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On the evening of Oct. 1, District emergency operators fielded hundreds of calls from residents panicked by fireworks celebrating the Kennedy Center’s monthlong Festival of China. But one Cleveland Park resident, Barbara Zuckerman, didn’t bother calling 911. Zuckerman, a real-estate agent, was watching television at home when the explosions shook her windows. Her first thought was that a plane had crashed or that something had detonated in the nearby Van Ness Metro station. Then she had her second thought: Get the hell out of town. Within 10 minutes, Zuckerman, who lives alone, had thrown a pile of clothes in a bag, pulled some leftover traveler’s checks from her safe, grabbed her dog, gotten in her Jaguar, and headed north on Connecticut Avenue NW. “I just didn’t know what it was, and it bothered me that I didn’t know,” she says. By the time Zuckerman reached Potomac, Md., friends had given her the skinny by cell phone, and she turned around and went home. Now that she has a dry run under her belt, Zuckerman’s confident that she would do it again. “I never thought I’d have the guts to just leave,” she says. “Now I think I’m going to put together a real getaway bag, just in case, for the future.” —Huan Hsu