The fire alarm went off this morning at work. At first nobody thought anything of it as we usually have drills on Monday mornings. Every one dutifully started towards the stairwells. We weren’t outside that long before we noticed that this wasn’t just a drill today. Soon there were two LFB fire engines on site with another one to follow.
My IT partner in crime and I thought we may as well head off and pick up some lunch to kill some time before we were let back in. However, when we got back about 20 minutes later the area around Orion House had been taped off and there was an engine with a ladder going up the front of the building.
We had a chat with one of the fire fighters. It turns out that there were guys out cleaning the windows when the alarm went and they were now stuck up on the 7th floor. The ladder was out to get them down. He also told us that there was some sort of leak in the basement. There was a fire but it was put out by the building’s sprinklers. We all just assumed it was a gas leak. Now they were waiting for some electricians to show up to shut down the power so they could have a proper look around.
Everyone else could leave either for a long lunch or in some cases for the day. However, being IT we had to wait around. We had to go in as soon as we could to get all the systems shut down properly after the power was cut.
It being a touristy area, there were lots of people stopping to have a gawk and get their photos taken in front of a London fire engine.
Finally after three hours, we were allowed back in at 3pm. We trudged up the stairwell with everyone else because despite us being allowed back in the building, the power still wasn’t back on. Once we were back inside rumours of it being an electrical fire started to make the rounds. This seems a bit more plausible considering how patchy electricity was coming back on.
Thankfully, the UPS batteries still had another 1 and change left of power so the servers and network bits were all fine. We had to then wait around for the building electricians to get around to fully restore power to each floor and then give us the green light to power up all of our equipment. Eventually we were the only ones left in the building. Ah IT, the unsung heroes eh ;-).