Well this conference is sure starting out with a bang. Just as the 11-12:30 session was ending, the fire alarm goes off. Being theatre folks, some in the room I was in were joking with each other, questioning if we really needed to leave. We all dutifully did so, but were allowed to come back in within 10 or so minutes.
And then for some, the ceiling crashed down. Literally. Luckily, it was lunch break for the Phillips LED Fusion: Day 2 session in S230D, and as of 1:30 were relocated to finish their discussions to, interestingly, the room directly above. I didn’t catch as to where the A.C.T./MA gandMA2 Level Two Training – Day 2 class was being relocated.
In rooms S230E, water was raining from the light fixtures; in S230F it was in the audio system crackling away. A moment or two of slow motion awe, and then being the good Samaritan hands-in-black that we are, bystanders rushed into the room to start pulling equipment out of the A.C.T/GrandMA and Phillips VariLite Strand rooms, all while water kept flowing down.
Somehow, somewhere in the rooms above, something triggered the sprinkler systems or burst a pipe or something, and it soaked into the floor/ceiling just gaining pressure above the unsuspecting equipment below. After the amount of time that built up between the alarms going off and the folks coming back in and milling about, there was enough deluging into the space between floors that the ceiling couldn’t hold. Ceiling pieces and water were all over the GrandMA consoles; flooding was happening all through the C-F rooms. Not wanting to interrupt the rescue efforts and the quick planning of the official building folks, I’m leaving it at that for now; I’m sure an official word will come out later when there has been time to breathe.
Thanks to everyone who lent a hand pulling everything to safety. Have a great and un-eventful rest of the show!
For those who wish to see the carnage, here are some photos: