Friday, June 02, 2006

En Fuego

My associate and I barely escaped from our burning building last night. Ok, so that's his dramatic tale of it. In reality, it's a little less blockbuster.

Our building is downtown, and frequently during the day we hear the firetrucks roll by. Yesterday afternoon, I ignored the sirens for a while, but then noticed they weren't going away. I looked out the window and one of the trucks was parked in the alley next to the building. I didn't think anything of it, and went about packing up to go home.

I went into the hallway to catch the elevator, and could hear the elevator dinging on several floors below. And the elevators were not moving. I went back into the office and checked the other end of the building, and found that 3 more trucks were parked at the entrance to our building. I casually told my associate that we were on fire, but more importantly, we couldn't use the elevators.

We both looked out the windows of our office and saw that passersby were not stopping to look, or pointing in shock and horror as one of the floors below us smoldered. See, we're on the 11th floor of a 12 floor building and we don't know what goes on below us most of the time.

Anyway, realizing crisis was averted, we still had to find a way out of the building. We have stairways, but the doors to the floors lock once you're in there. The only way out is the very bottom, or so we hoped. After rigging our floor for emergency escape, we made our way down the stairways, plotting what stairway window we would jump out of in case of a real emergency.

2 things disturbed me about the whole event. 1, apparently if there is a fire on another floor in this building, our alarms do not go off. So if floor 4 is completely engulfed in flames, we have to wait until the smoke rises to our floor to know there is a problem. And 2, it took us freaking forever to descend 11 floors. And that's without having to encounter all of the people from other floors as we went down. In a real fire, the lower floors would all keep piling on, and we'd get backed up somewhere around floor 8 until they all cleared. I'm not liking this scenario.