Swimming with Fire

I’ve managed to get a few minutes of free time today so I’d better post some news while I’ve got the chance. The last week has mostly been taken up with work on a couple of big projects we’ve got going on simultaneously so there hasn’t been too much of interest to report. The only really amusing event occured this weekend when Susan and I decided it was time to begin our weekly lap swimming for the summer at the Northlake college pool.

After we’d been doing laps for about 15 minutes, a fire alarm went off. The lifeguards insisted that everyone leave the pool and wait outside the enclosed pool area. This seems rather odd to me. The entire structure is made from cement, concrete, bricks, and filled with water – how likely is a fire? Okay, maybe a towel or the clip board with the sign-in sheet might catch fire but that’s not too life-threatening. In fact, the only thing nearby that could possibly burn is the college itself. And if the college was on a fire, what better place to escape than a large body of water?

In any case, we were all herded out of the pool area and had to stand beside the nearby buildings (the ones that seemed more likely to burn than a pool). A local police car showed up within minutes and police rushed to the scene ready protect everyone from danger by filling out paper work. No one had actually seen any smoke or fire and the general concensus was that some kids had pulled the fire alarm as a joke when they were leaving the pool area. The police were apparently authorized to fill out reports stating that the pool was not on fire but could not actually tell us if a non-burning pool was safe for humans to enter – only the fire departement could determine such things.

After waiting a while longer, we heard the fire truck coming. The street layout at Northlake college is a bit circuitous and there are not always enough signs to figure out how to get where you want to go. As a result, we watched the fire truck drive around in the distance and take wrong turns for several minutes and then vanish around the other side of the campus. We could still hear the siren about 5 minutes later when the police finished their paper work and decided to move on. All this time the alarm was still sounding since no one seemed to have the key to turn it off. The lifegaurds eventually got tired of waiting for the lost firetruck and allowed us to get back in the water. We did laps accompanied by the quadrophonic sound of four 90db fire alarms (one at each corner of the pool) for another 10 minutes before the fire truck finally arrived and turned off the alarm.

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