In hindsight there was a lot of foreshadowing: hot air balloons lit up by their internal fires, a parent saying we'll go out with a bang, the fact that the year ending and the year beginning are both fire elements, fire season beginning according to a daily report. But who ever expects a calamity to take place?
I was on my way out of town, when the call came in. Friday afternoon, after a long day at a school event, most of the employees had gone home. One of the trustees calls me with the news that a fire broke out within the grounds. After getting in touch with several co-employees and a couple of managers, I find out that the fire had started in a side office of the left wing, and the fire trucks were containing the blaze. I return to Manila and head back, tired, but driven by a rush of adrenaline. Two rooms are gutted, and our main auditorium is under water, but luckily most of the school is untouched. Structurally, the building seems to be sound, although we won't know the full extent until after the engineers come in next week.
No one was hurt, the guards who managed to save a good deal of our equipment were checked for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital the same night. They are to be commended for their quick thinking.
This is the second capital damage to the school in the last 8 months: Milenyo damaged the playground, now this. My superstitious side tells me we need to appease the angry spirits.