11:00 am. It was supposed to be another boring day at the office. Until the fire came knocking in.
I got into the office really late, as in all-time late. I was supposed to be at the try-outs for the Dragon Boat team earlier before sunrise. I woke up early only to find out there will be no sunrise because it was raining heavy like there’s a typhoon. So I crept back into slumber and I woke up a couple of hours late for office.
The distress call came in when I was just peppering a breakfast of coffee and Skyflakes. The circuit breaker panel on the third floor of the hotel was smoking. Quickly I went along with the hotel manager and a security personnel to check-out the situation. When we got there the panel was more than smoking, it was already starting to breathe fire… It was smoking pretty bad, and it smelled pretty bad too, it was suffocating. Visibility was limited. Guests were coming out of their rooms to check where that smoke coming from. Heart pumping rapidly, finally I felt something I never experienced in a long time. Fear.
In a critical situation like this you cant help but get yourself scared, its natural, but the trick for survival is to have a clear head. Sir Neil, the hotel manager, asked me to escort the guests of the third and fourth floor down to the lobby. While he and Kuya Ga-guard took the fire into their own hands. They couldn’t find the key to open the fire-breathing panel. But fortunately, across the floor was a fire extinguisher cabinet with an axe, a water hose and an extinguisher. The glass says: “Break glass in case of fire.” And break it they did. I could hear the sound of glass breaking as I lead the guests downstairs. And moments later I could hear the scary sounds of heavy pounding, it was maddening as if an enemy playing their battle drums is marching closer. They must be breaking the panel wide open to shut the fire down.
At the ground floor, a hotel staff triggered the fire alarm. And the mermaids suddenly started to sing their songs.
But I knew they were just slaying the dragon – fire-breathing and stinks like hell – others call it the blazing breaker panel that houses the electrical connections of the entire floor. I came back to the third floor as soon as I escorted the guests to safety. The infant fire minutes ago was gone, only the white powder that killed it adorned the disfigured circuit breaker panel. In the floor were a mess of broken glasses and wooden panels. Everything was under control. The cause of fire is currently under investigation. For safety reasons the fire marshals ordered to shut down all electricity in the hotel (yey, no work! I’m blogging it! wait I have to find a wifi connection).
Now let’s analyze, the situation. Apparently there was a failure in the electrical system. The hotel has operated since 2008 and its the first time this scary stuff happened. Perhaps somewhere along the mazelike connection of electrical wire, something snapped. If that breaker panel breathed life in the middle of the night it could have been much worse. The third and fourth floors would have been easily engulfed by flames in no time. Wooden cabinets, beds made of garments and linens and everything, I’m sure the fire would have made a great killing. Perhaps we were lucky it happened at noon where everyone is on duty kicking and alive (and in my case bored to death). But we were lucky because we responded on the site just in time before matters comes worse. Yes, were awfully close, like minutes or even seconds, from disaster.
Today we were really close, really scared. Thanks God, it’s good to be alive.