Friday, February 03, 2012

Firemen are the real heroes

This was the view from my flat this morning:


And this was the scene a few minutes later out on Camden Street:


As this building is two doors away from my home, and in fact is in front of but next door to the far side of my building, this was a little worrying.

Luckily the fire was brought under control fairly rapidly, and most importantly no-one was hurt. The fire had spread to the top of an adjacent building but didn't seem to have done much damage to it or to the lower floors of the offices below where it had started, and it didn't reach as far as our building. I realised only after a few minutes that I'd just automatically assumed, perhaps because there were no ambulances present, that no-one had been injured. Perhaps because it's an office building, whereas if it had been a home, people's safety would have been the immediate concern. In reality, the office's occupant was lucky to escape unhurt, and people in flats next door to it were evacuated by the emergency services, told to grab their passports and get out immediately.


The solicitor's office on the top floor had gone on fire, the rumours being that he'd put on the kettle, gone to the loo and come back to flames, which rapidly led to a gas bottle exploding. There may have been a lit cigarette involved as well. I used to rent studio space in the back of this building, and that area was in good shape, but the upper storey of the building could fairly be described as a death trap, piled high with old newspapers and paper files, with the stairs and that whole part of the building looking on the verge of falling apart.

The explosion from the gas canister had shaken our building. This was the culprit later on:


Quite a scene to wake up to.

But you know, it's not like our building is almost entirely made of wood or anything. Oh. Wait a second. Though timber frame buildings can actually be more fire resistant that typical masonry houses.

But then it's not as if my building also houses a paper workshop, filled with enormous stacks of paper on two floors. Oh. Damn.

And of course, all my writing, photos and valuable documents are digitally stored and backed up in at least two off-site locations, including online. Of course they are. Yes indeed. They're not in notebooks or in stacked boxes of highly flammable prints and negatives (remember those?) or stuffed into drawers. At least the digital elements of my life are on a jumbled backup disk - an attempt to learn from a friend's experiences with multiple thefts last year - but naturally that backup is stored rather close to, and certainly in the same building as, the originals. That's alright then.

But we definitely have contents insurance, to ease the pain if the worst should happen. Oh. Right. Must get on to that.

So. No worries there then.


Blogger Snag Breac said...

Wow, you got to wake up to all those firemen!
That gas cannister looks amazing...make me glad the warehouse never burnt down!

Saturday, 4 February 2012 at 18:24:00 GMT  

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