So, this morning (well yesterday morning I'm late posting this) my building at work caught on fire. I just got there, poured my coffee and logged onto my computer when the fire alarm went off. I figured it was just another drill. None of us were too happy or quick to leave as it was rather chilly and windy outside.
Suddenly, we lost power. I think it was at that moment we were cursing. We knew something was up but weren't quite sure what. We made our way to the stairwells in a herded cow sort of fashion. It took 10 minutes for me to actually get outside, approximately 15 minutes for the entire building to be cleared of 1600 employees.
With my coffee in hand, we stand there awaiting the news to go back inside. We were all expecting to hear something along the lines of, "someone burnt some popcorn again" or "the vaccum cleaner set it off". Five minutes pass and I see the local news van with live satellite feed drive up. This was a sure sign we probably had an actual fire. You know you live in a great town when the news beats the firetrucks to the scene.
About 10 minutes after the news arrived (approximately 30 minutes after the alarm sounded) we see the first firetruck arrive. Gee thanks guys. Now knowing that something was definitely going on, we saunter up to one of the electricians and see if we can get the scoop.
Turns out the basement was on fire and a fairly nice electrical one too. The main breaker started it and it spread to the other breakers. Chances at this point of returning to work were quickly fading. A thought crossed my mind to see if everyone wanted to go hang out at my apartment (about 10 minutes away) until they told us something. I realized I left not only my purse upstairs, but also my money, my keys and most importantly, my smokes. That idea was shot. It was now an hour into the incident.
We stood around for another 30 minutes in the parking lot until they herded us into the other building. All local news stations were now on the scene. We also realized there were 7 fire trucks, 3 police cars and an ambulance on the scene. We were now all tired, cold and very close to many people we did not care to be that close to. They still didn't tell us what was happening, but said EPB (the electric power board) was on its way to assess the damage and not to talk to the media.
I went back outside after nearly having a panic attack from the claustrophobic situation they put us in and ran into one of my friends. She said she went down to the gym to do a powerwalk when the alarm went off thinking she'd get in a quick workout. She said she walked down there and it was completely filled with smoke.
The time was now 11:00 and they started sending everyone to lunch. Lucky me didn't have any money to go to lunch and they had mentioned they were going to allow people back into the building to get their personal belongings but in groups by floor location and with the fire department escorting us, so I waited. I was finally able to grab my things at 12:15 PM. They still did not have an ETA on when we would be allowed back in the building as the fire was out but some of the breakers were still popping.
Around 12:30 PM, they announced they were sending the Underwriters home and allow some of the business critical people to work at their stations. The non business critical employees were sent home. Luckily, I work for the business critical people but my boss told me I could go home. They provided us with a 1-800 number to call in the morning to see if the building was going to be in service tomorrow (today).
Unfortunately, on the 11:00 news, they announced we were open for business tomorrow. The news knows all. LOL. The back of my head made it on the news too. I'm famous.
So that was my day. I just felt like sharing.