So, I had to dial 911 yesterday. Not a common, everyday type occurrence, no. Necessary all the same.
Why? Oh, my office was on fire.
So, I'm sitting at my desk, reading a blog around noon yesterday, when I hear the pounding on the door to my hallway (My office is in a different part of the building from the majority of the folks at my office. On this day, I was the only one on my side.) So, grumbling, I get up from my computer to see what the fuss is about. Through the see-through side-bar on our door I can see the frantic look on my coworkers face. Her hands waving for me to walk faster. I couldn't imagine what was going on. Maybe someone was having a heart-attack? Several of my coworkers are older ladies, so that was the only thing I could imagine.
As soon as I open the door, the smell hits me. A thick burning rubber/plastic smell smacked me in the nostrils.
My coworker, in her frantic state points through the door behind her, and I see it. Dense clouds of smoke pluming from the back of the room. I can't see the back wall.
"There's a fire in there!!" she shrieked. "Is Diane here?" (Diane is my boss and the building manager.) "No", I said, "haven't seen her all day. But, we need to get out of here right NOW"!
And that we did. On the way out of my office I grabbed my cell phone and called my supervisor who was in a meeting across town. I let her know the situation as best I could. She asked if anyone had called 911 yet. I felt certain that someone had already, as I was rather later to the scene than most everyone else in my office, but I figured I better call just in case everyone was thinking the same thing.
Did you know when you call 911 your cell phone enters into "emergency" mode and won't let you dial any numbers other than 911 until you exit out of it? I'm not sure what that's all about, but it damn sure was confusing in a moment of panic.
Within maybe a minute, maybe less, the firetrucks showed up. Yep, plural. They sent, for some reason I do not understand, three of them. The men in their heavy uniforms and masks trundled into the smoke filled building. Apparently one of my braver coworkers had thought fast and grabbed the fire extinguisher. She had already put out the flames for the most part, so really they were just checking to be sure it was out. Once they had confirmed that there were in fact no more flames, they brought out the industrial fans to air the place out.
While we waited for the smoke to clear, one of the firemen walked over to where a bunch of us were standing. "Well, we know what caused the fire!" he announced. My, I thought, that was fast.
"Yep", he said. "It was that candle."
And, we all knew what candle that was.
See, despite the fact that burning candles in a state building would seem to be an obvious no-no, and while it is EXPLICITLY against the rules, there are those that do it anyway. I don't know if it is some sort of act of rebellion on their parts, or just general ass-hatery, but I can assure you, this is an issue. Probably in every state building everywhere.
And this particular hard-head had set our motherfucking office on fire.
Oddly, this is NOT what disturbs me the most.
No, what disturbs me the most is that evidently, we do not have fire alarms in our office??? With all the roaring, rising smoke not a single BEEP! was heard. If my coworker hadn't come looking for Diane down my hallway, I might not have gotten out of the building!
How utterly fucking unacceptable is THAT? Additionally, how utterly unsurprising is that?
But, I am seriously pissed off about it, as I think are a number of my coworkers. I'm almost glad that Dumbass McBumpkin started the damn fire, because it highlighted this point. Next time, the fire might not be so easily controlled and someone might get seriously hurt or killed.
I mean, with all the jankity ass wiring going on in this office, it's a surprise that we don't have fires every damn day.
So, what the shit? Should I write to the head of my department? The governor? If this is an issue here, I know this must be an issue in lots of state offices. Where is the oversight for this shit?!