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.