Sunday, September 10, 2006

Burning down the residence

Let's wind back a few years to university and here I am sitting at my desk in the residence. I hear some shouting outside and there are a couple of students walking back to the residence and they are waving their arms at me and gesturing to the next room and shouting FIRE.

I walk into the corridor and to the room adjacent to mine and look in and see that the desk is on fire. My neighbor had been using candles to illuminate his papers and one of them had fallen over and set his notes on fire. He was nowhere to be seen and his desk was covered with loose notes and the fire wasn't wasting time moving from one to another.

I looked around and saw two options. There were a few towels draped over the banister and I could have used those to smother the fire. My first thought about using the towels was that the owner would not have been happy. The second option was to get the fire extinguisher at the end of the corridor.

I'd never use a fire extinguisher before and relished the opportunity to try my hand at it so the choice was not a very difficult one.

I aimed the nozzle at the desk and let out a few short bursts. I didn't want to drown the desk in foam because that would destroy the rest of his notes and I knew how important they were. What I hadn't expected was that the power of the fire extinguisher blast lifted all the burning papers into the air and spread them around the room setting the curtains and bed and rubbish bin on fire as well.

Once I'd manage to turn a burning desk into a burning room I had no choice but to hold that nozzle firmly down and let the room have it. The fire was quickly put out but the room was a mess.

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