It started off as an ordinary work day for me. Head down, fingers tapping away, concentrating on the data entry work that I do. Then……..is that smoke I can smell? I asked around my work-mates to see what they thought. Some had winter colds and couldn’t smell anything. The smell of smoke was getting stronger so I approached our Team Leader. No, she was another one with a cold and couldn’t smell it either. Well, I decided, I’m not sitting here if something is wrong and no one is going to do anything about it, so I went out to the office – Business Support, they call themselves these days. I was told that workmen were up in the ceiling servicing the air conditioner and the smell would be checked out.
Back I went to my desk and then heard bang, bang, bang up above. We all looked up and gazed in amazement. The ceiling tiles were shaking up and down as someone was running overhead along the rafters. Something was definitely wrong. Just then the fire alarm sounded. With the smell of smoke stronger than ever we grabbed our coats and bags and hurried outside.
Gathering outside in our teams we heard someone say, “Look at the smoke”. White smoke was billowing out of one of the vents in the roof. Just as well I had my camera with me!! With the siren blaring, the fire appliance arrived. We watched as the firemen donned their breathing apparatus and went inside the building. They finally came out and announced it safe for us all to return inside.
We needed a caffeine fix to sooth the jangled nerves so stopped at the canteen for a cuppa. Several of the panels had been removed from the ceiling close by my area. We were told later that the ceiling cavity had been full of smoke so that is why the workman was in such a hurry to escape. The smell of smoke was still in the air as we settled back to work. I kept glancing at the exposed ceiling thinking that the day could have ended so very differently. That was enough excitement for the day.