Sunday, October 30, 2005

30 October 2005: Fire

Large boom early this morning. Woke me up, and I briefly wondered why there was a firework going off so early. The the antibiotics and painkillers kicked in again and took me back to sleep.

When I woke up again the radio, internet and phone calls began coming in with news. Big explosion and fire at the university. No casualties reported as yet, but there are twenty-two fire engines and over a hundred fire-workers at the scene as I write this. And the thing is this: it's our buildings. BBC Solent are reporting that the part of Mountbatten that fronts on to Salisbury Road, is totally gutted. The other part of Mountbatten, containing admin offices such as the nerve-centre of AKT, is under severe threat and Zepler (my haunt) would be next.

Reports are that lots of postgrads and researchers have already lost years of work. Not sure if mine, or that of AKT more widely, is included: there's probably a good chance the fire is being contained before it takes the rest of Mountbatten, but it's ongoing. Staff and students are said to be gathering at the scene, and I'd join them, except I've been in bed with infected glands, ears and tonsils for a while and feel dreadful. Maybe I'll feel up to heading down there later, and find out who's lost what. The only good side seems to be that very early Sunday morning is the best time for this to happen: very few people present.

Still, as the firefighters get it under control and things begin to become clearer, we'll continue to watch and see what's gone, what's left and where we all go from here. An unexpected turn for this AKTing Lark, and not a welcome one.

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