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Star Songs


February 13th, 2006

It's been a long night @ 05:59 am

Current Mood: relieved relieved

Well, that was interesting - in that "may you live in interesting times" Chinese curse kinda way. Around 3am I was in the kitchen behind our hotel's restaurant when our security guy asks me to come up to 3rd floor ASAP. Heading through the restaurant and out across the lobby I smell something weird. Pest control's here spraying for bugs but it smells more like a fireplace than bug spray. So I look up into the atrium (5 floors high) it's a little hazy up there. Oh, crap!

Security and one of our two night housekeepers meet me on 3 by the elevators, asking if I'd noticed the smoke and if I had any clue where it was coming from. Yes and no, in that order. We've had smouldering cigarettes tossed into the planters lining the atrium before, so we split up and check all those and nothing. Smell's a little stronger by then and it seems a little more hazy, so I get the front desk to call the fire department.

A couple of policemen heard the call and pull up while we're waiting, they mention the smoke smell the second they walk into the lobby so they start looking too. The haze isn't getting any worse, but it still smells like wood or paper burning. A couple of minutes later two fire trucks pull up, maybe a dozen guys total, and everybody's trying to find where this smell's coming from. Fire crew thinks it might be electrical, a ballast in a fluorescent fixture maybe, so we call the head engineer to ask where the breakers are. He doesn't answer, but we manage to get his assistant on the phone and let him talk to the fire chief. They go back and forth for awhile, the chief finally tells the engineer he needs to come in and start going over everything since there are about a dozen breaker panels and we have no clue which goes to what - and still can't find where it started.

About 3:45am the fire dept admits they can't find anything, visually or with heat sticks, the smoke's dissipated and the smell's clearing out so they pack up and leave. The engineer got here a few minutes after that and has been checking stuff system by system ever since and still no clue what happened for sure. He suspects a fan motor in the restaurant's heating system burnt out, the smell was strongest up in the restaurant ceiling, but it's going to take a lot longer effort yet (once day shift comes in) to track it down for sure.

When I started doing Night Manager shifts, Knight said the biggest part of the job was knowing when to yell for help and who to wake up. The really weird part was that none of the smoke detectors or fire alarms tripped - but with three noses smelling smoke I erred on the side of caution. At least the alarms didn't add panicky guests into the middle-of-the-night mayhem.

ETA: I drew a card from the Halloween Tarot before I came in tonight, the Hierophant (Mummy) reversed. Any thoughts on how that would tie into this?
 
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From:composer2005
Date:February 14th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)

Night

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hm - talk about interesting nights - man - I was in a pub in Ireland when there was a fire - next door - as we left the pub the top of the building fell right in front of us - but yours sounds more ominous actually - as you don't know where the smoke came from - sigh - hope the rest of your nights are a lot calmer - happy Valentines day (btw)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 19th, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)

Heirophant - smoke burning

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It seems to me that since there were no practical explanations for the fire and yet there was smoke and the smell of smoke that the Heirophant is reminding us to follow our intuition. There was obviously something happening even though the smoke detectors werent going off. On the funny side of it was it incense!!!
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From:starsongky
Date:February 20th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC)

Re: Heirophant - smoke burning

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I never did find out for sure, but the most likely cause was a burnt-out fan motor somewhere in the heating ducts.

Star Songs