Not Trapped in a Hotel Fire in Hamilton

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One thing that will really get your attention is a fire alarm blasting you out of a peaceful sleep in a hotel room. That happened to us a few mornings ago. On the day after we arrived, alarms were going off all over the hotel. The staff said to ignore them, as they were testing the system. It went on all day. Two days later, at about 07:00 the alarm came on and did not go off. I stuck my head out in the hall to sniff for smoke. Amazingly, Eunie was sleeping through it. I did see a few people strolling out, so I woke her up and said that it might be a good idea to go outside for a while. She grumbled, but complied. Here’s the small mob milling around outside trying to figure out what was going on:

Guests milling about while the fire alarm blasts insideMost guests were still in the building eating breakfast. I couldn’t stay inside. I’ve got ear damage from gunfire and flying helicopters, so loud noises really hurt. The staff finally told us that someone had tripped the alarm on the third floor. Soon the Hamilton Fire Service arrived:

The Hamilton Fire Department arrivesI think that they already knew it was a false alarm, but they scurried inside with all their gear anyway. “Good practice”, they said:

A Hamilton fireman investigatesEunie stood bleary-eyed out in front clutching her precious Toshiba notebook:

Eunie waits outside in the cold clutching her precious Toshiba notebook

I had grabbed my computer, my three cameras and a backup hard disk which contains our whole life. Eunie forgot her glasses and jewellery. Fortunately, I was spared the hazard of running back into a burning hotel to retrieve her missing items.

All this is mildly amusing, but it’s not the best of the story.

As I stood out in front, I was waiting to hear the grumbling, cursing, blaming, lawsuit threats and the other usual reactions that I was expecting. Instead, it was like a garden party. People stood around joking and smoking and generally trying to out-quip each other. When we were told that some jerk had tripped the fire alarm, the most vicious remark that I heard came from a laughing woman who asked, “When you catch him, we can beat him up, eh?” All of this seemed rather surreal to me, as if I had suddenly been teleported to Munchkin Land. I expected to see Dorothy exit the hotel at any moment in her ruby slippers.

Then it came to me. I’m in Canada.

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