It was just another Friday morning at work…or so I thought. But when I went out from the business office after our staff stand-up meeting, I smelled something…burning. “Now, what?” Was it from a faulty electrical wiring? Was it from one of our residents in the room who lighted a cigarette and accidentally burned his clothes? Was it from the kitchen? I hoped not! The best thing was, I did not hear the fire alarm go off.

And so, the search began…

I asked our maintenance staff to investigate what happened and check where the smell was coming from.  Like  a trained sniffing canine, he followed where the smell originated. After a while, he came to me, like one of the three magi carefully holding with both hands an offering of a dark brown, almost black colored and unrecognizable pizza box. “Somebody used the microwave in the employees lounge, to heat up a whole box of pizza, probably set the timer longer than needed, and forgot all about it”, he said. When I opened the pathetic-looking box, my eyes almost popped out of their socket. It’s black! I could not even imagine  that the charred thing inside the box, used to be a pizza.

“Who did this?” I asked. Of course he just could not give me a definite answer. There were numerous employees going in and out of the staff lounge and whoever was the culprit, obviously had no intention of stepping forward and confess.This incident prompted me to check our fire drill log, and I found out that our mandatory regular/routine fire drill was long overdue. We did it that same day.

It took one charred pizza for us to be vigilant and reminded us of our accountability and responsibility to prevent, and act accordingly in the event of fire.



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