It all started sometime mid-morning on Thursday when the fire marshal came over the loud speaker and said there was a fire under the sidewalk outside but the fire department was there and it was under control. He said if we saw smoke outside don't worry and there was no need to evacuate. No one really thought anything of it, I mean the fire marshal did say to stay put.
Not too long after that is when all the craziness broke out. I sit towards the front of the office in a row of cubicles and you can't see over the cubicles unless you stand up. We were all working like normal when this shadow moves over the building and from my desk I could see how dark it was all of a sudden. I stood up to see what was going on and of course started to think terrible things. When I stood up I looked out the window and saw a huge column of fire all the way up at our 6th floor windows. That's when people started screaming and running! I grabbed my stuff and ran out with everyone else. Everyone was able to make it out of the building and no one was hurt.
When I got outside and stood still for a minute I realized I was shaking and lots of other people were shaking or crying. No one was hurt and no one was really in danger since the fire was coming from outside and would have taken a while to come inside and pose a threat but that didn't cross your mind when all you see is a wall of fire and people start screaming!
Here are some pictures from news stations. According to the news a transformer under the sidewalk caught fire and exploded. All of the snow melting and salt running down into the vaults where transformers are stored can sometimes cause a problem. The transformer had started smoking and that's what the fire marshal had said was under control. The bottom floors of the building were evacuated because of the smoke but since it wasn't reaching the upper floors it was deemed safe for us to stay….that was until the transformer exploded sending a column of fire up through the grates in the sidewalk and all the way up past the top of our 7 story building!
On the up side everyone was able to go back to work Friday and besides the front of the building the only damage noticeable from inside is all of the windows that were blown out and had to be boarded up.