In my line of work, we often figuratively refer to what we do on a daily basis as “putting out fires”. This last Friday, a couple ladies from the mail room had been reassigned to erase a bunch of old archive tapes using a degausser our company had rented. During the course of the degaussing (which is incredibly loud), it began to smell like burning insulation. The ladies came out of the conference room where their temporary degaussing station had been set up, and informed the small group of IT guys that work in the area that the degausser was smoking, but that it had done this a couple of times and it would be fine once they let it be for a few minutes. I didn’t think this sounded good, but just shrugged it off and went back to work. No less than thirty seconds later, the ladies come quickly out of the conference room and say, “Okay it’s on fire!” My coworker Stacey and I jumped up and made our way toward the conference room. Once inside, I ended up with the ABC fire extinguisher and quickly ran to the other side of the room where the degausser was sitting. While not a huge fire, there were flames large enough that soon the sprinkler system would’ve kicked in, ruining a lot of equipment inside the conference room. I ripped off the safety ring, pulled the pin, and extinguished the flames. While this isn’t a big deal by any stretch, it was still the first time I’ve ever used a fire extinguisher to put out a real fire.
The source of the fire:
The blessed extinguisher:
A cleaning crew came in yesterday and vacuumed up all the dust that the fire extinguisher had spewed. Somehow I don’t believe there will be any further degaussing in this conference room’s future.