Friday, February 12, 2010
This day in February, the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Moratuwa caught fire. We dwelling on the floor above had a wonderful time inhaling the foul fumes, watching the show & trying to sound like mr/ms Situational Analysts. Stories were flying around as to how the fire started, as the case is for many a such random accidents. The closest news to the truth, stated negligence on the part of some maintenance folks. The story had references to welding gear, electricity cables, the A/C & (surprise surprise) water!! Apparently in the excited state of mind or by sheer dumbness some soul had decided to use water to put the fire out. And by some long forgotten good karma that everybody failed to pay tribute to no one got hurt.
Fire does require respect & plenty of it. The staff at the Electrical Engineering Department had their work cut out trying to curb the flames & minimize the damage while the fire brigade & the police took their own sweet time to arrive at the drama. Thankfully they eventually did & left almost as soon as they arrived! :D
Accidents like these usually make you realize how vulnerable you are. Also it makes you wonder how well (or under) equipped we are tackling an emergency situation. It was quite appalling to see such so called educated people standing right outside the burning building watching the extravaganza, while glass was splintering in thousand one directions! I mean come on...curiosity did kill the cat, did it not? Since the electrical circuitry was damaged by the fire, the power supply was cut off for approximately an hour. When you say power was cut off due to a fault you don't expect to see certain areas within the same building remaining unaffected by the power cut. The engineering genius of these people is such that we in our working area had power despite the alleged "power cut", thanks to an "old power line" they had just generously left in tact!
Luckily the incident took place when most of the students were away on their vacation. Had it been a normal work day with thousands of students attending lectures, we could have witnessed a retake of a blockbuster movie! :D People may argue, blame X, Y & Z, try to sound like mr/ms know-it-alls, but it is highly unlikely that the present loopholes will be addressed & undone in the near future. Why? we, the Sri Lankans have been graciously blessed with the gift of forgetfulness & with a lapse of a few days nobody would remember of the whole fiasco, until the next one takes us by surprise.