Monday, May 10, 2010

Fire Scare

Who likes Monday's? No one.

But this Monday had some extra spice when large plumes of smoke starting coming out from the generator and people in the office shouting "Fire! Fire!". Some of my colleagues ran for the exit, others went towards the window to see what the commotion downstairs was all about and others, myself included, quickly packed our belongings and followed the crowd down the stair case.

Everyone was safe, even the guy we left behind in the toilet. David Biryetega was in the loo when he heard shouting outside. Thinking it was the usual shouts in the office, he ignored. When he came out of the toilet and found the whole engineering floor deserted, he knew something was wrong and ran for the front door. But the front door was grilled shut!

Ouch. Plan B. He made his way through the fire exit, which is via the men or ladies toilet and down towards the back of the building. At the back of the building, the passage towards the street was blocked in some manner. The only way to safety was the other side, which was where the generator was supposedly burning.  Tough luck! Nevertheless, he was safe as the smoke was apparently coming from the welding some workers were performing close to the generator.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it dangerous to weld close to a running generator filled with diesel? And we're not talking about those puny generator we see at the pasar malam. This a room-sized generator. Just imagine how much fuel it'll be carrying since it has enough capacity to power the building for the whole day.

Anyway, we're all safe and sound. Too bad the generator worked or else we could have had another peaceful Monday at the hotel. I was just about to call my wife and say,"Honey, make it lunch for 2!"

P.S. Why did everyone scramble out of the building so fast? In Nigeria, water is limited. Even in the Dover office building, we lose water nearly every other day. So there is a worry that when a fire happens, it will spread non-stop. A small fire, in such dry conditions, can be a huge menace very quickly.

P.P.S. By the way, the fire marshals were the first to bolt out of the building. Thank you Mr. Fire Marshal.

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