The week between Christmas and New Year’s is typically very quiet. All the program staff are in recovery. All the Admin staff are in preparations for Year End mailings. As such we generally run a skeleton crew. About 3:30 pm on Monday the 29th the fire alarm went off. Odd. Most likely dust or something in one of the A/C duct detectors. So I grab the keys, go to the control panel in that section of the building to silence it. Panel read “CE 208” and “2 Hallway”. Both sensors are in the CE building that was built in 1965. Odd. Might as well go look…..
Halfway down the hallway I smell smoke! This isn’t good! It is amazing how fast your mind works. In the time elapsed between when I smelled the smoke and got up to sprint speed, I had already mapped out the location of the three fire extinguishers, what kind they were, and when the last time I paid the bill for their annual inspections. When I got to room 208 there was indeed a small fire. Flames, the whole works. Fortunately, it was small enough to blow out.
Our youth director’s 9v battery powered Korg GT-3 had been left on, overheated, and set fire to the rug he had over top the desk he used as a lectern. It eventually made its way to his bible. What you can’t see in this picture is that the rug created flakes that were about to fall on the rug below, which then would have continued to the rest of the room.
The top of the little desk was charred, but fortunately it did not flame up(fire retardant). The wondrous thing about this is, had it happened two hours later, the fire would have most likely spread and we would have sustained major damage to that section of the building.
Things I am thankful for:
- In 2004 we decided to add this section to the fire alarm. Otherwise, we would have never known it.
- We were there at the time.
- It really wasn’t anyone’s “fault”. Sure, it should have been turned off, but I bet there are hundreds of these things on inside guitar cases right now. This was a fluke like an overheating cell phone charger or laptop battery. It was powered by a 9v!