Not your typical Friday here — there was an electrical fire in the basement of our office building this morning at One Broadway in Cambridge. I’m on the 11th floor of 17, and I heard the evacuation notice coming from the intercom system in the hallway (I easily could not have noticed this if I was listening to music), so I opened the door and asked my neighbor what was going on (my three co-workers were out today, including my boss who has a cast on his broken foot) — he said it was probably a fire drill. I started gathering my stuff when frantic voice came over the intercom for us all to get out via the stairs, so everyone started moving quickly. About a floor down we started smelling burnt rubber, and then the smoke started, and another floor down and it was pretty thick with white smoke through the stairwell. People went from moving leisurely to almost jumping down the stairs around the third floor, where the smoke was thickest. The trip down seemed to take forever. I made it outside and heard that people were vomiting in the stairwell. People on the third floor broke their windows and were on the roof of the building next door, and the firefighters had just got there to ladder them down. I inhaled quite a bit of crap, and the inside of my nose was black, but otherwise I’m OK — after I went home and washed all my clothes and took a shower.
Then I was interviewed for WBUR, the local NPR news station, about it. Unfortunately one man died, the man who was working on a transformer that exploded, the source of the fire. Here’s the rest of the story from big media.