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I Faced a Fear Yesterday, and Kicked Its @$$

I am in the middle of a very high-profile project in a very high-profile town.  

I was walking down the third-floor corridor after a meeting and stopped cold.  I smelled smoke.  Faint, but unmistakable.  You don’t want to smell smoke in a half-built wood building that takes up a full city block.

I narrowed the strongest smell down to one or two units.  It didn’t make sense that the smell wasn’t more intense… except if it was on a lower floor (smoke doesn’t go down).  I went down to two… stronger, but no visible smoke.  It hit me that I should be afraid – what if the floor below was burning?  No, I reasoned there would be smoke if there was fire.

I went down another floor and that’s when I knew it wasn’t just my imagination.  A thin layer of smoke could be seen in the corridor.  I turned into the archway of unit 105 and there was smoke to the ceiling.  The lead electrician, who had been searching with me, found the source and I bolted out the doorway and down the corridor.  I called the superintendent and told him “first-floor”, dropped my phone and grabbed a fire extinguisher and hauled ass back to 105.  

I put out the fire.

It wasn’t big, of course but you never know.  Given a little more time, that fire could have been disastrous.

Better, when I was a kid, I did as my mother taught me; when it came to danger I always ran the other way, without first assessing whether or not I could make a positive impact on the situation.

Yesterday, while everyone else took off outside, I assessed the situation and did the next right thing.  I didn’t run.  I put out the fire.  Yesterday, I did what men do, not what we’re taught.

It was a good day for me.

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