Friday, September 16, 2011

Sirens, blasts, chemical tang: Canberra's having a party

We are stuck at home this morning thanks to a huge chemical fire in the industrial zone near our suburb. We are within the ten kilometre zone and have been repeatedly told to stay indoors, keep all windows closed, and to turn off any air-conditioners and heaters.

It's very exciting.

I was woken this morning about 3:20 by an emergency text message that said

The ACT Fire Brigade responding to chemical insadent in Mitchell. Resadents of Franklin, Crace, Harrison, Watson, Downer, Kaleen, Lyneham, Hackett, stay indoors
All the spelling mistakes are theirs, and apparently lots of people thought it was a spam or scam because 'spelling mistakes are an indicator', but I know that no one but emergency services would have a number like 444 444 444, and everyone knows fireys can't spell (but they are fabulous) so I took it seriously.

About 4:15am we got an automatic recorded message on our phone from the SES, saying something similar.

At 5am there was a huge blast that I heard through our double brick walls, and the sirens started up again (everything before that was pretty faint).

Between all of that, Best Beloved snored like an engine, so I think I got a snatch of sleep between 5 and 6, when he awoke and turned on the ABC for updates.

Like I said, it's very exciting. Here's my favorite photo of the smoke plume, taken by my friend Fiona from her penthouse in Civic:

The red dot is roughly where we are.

Oh, the ABC just announced we're now clear to leave our house. All the dogs in the neighbourhood just started up, so obviously we're all listening.

Bumblebee is ecstatic because all the local schools are closed, which means I can't go to my residency school either. Woo hoo, studio day! Bonus. And now that we've got the all clear, I can get to my haircut appointment this afternoon too. I've decided to banish the Snape look for a while (my hair always reverts to it eventually).

I hope the toxic plume doesn't land anywhere awful. It's headed north and eastish, which means coastward. Watch your water supplies, peoples. The local radio, the tv, facebook and twitter are all a-twitter. I can't get over the masses of people who walked over to the fire to have a look despite all warnings.

I might have a nana nap soon, all this excitement is a bit draining. I spent my waking hours playing games on my iPhone and thinking about how helpless we'd be if this turned out to be something really serious. The first thing I said to BB when he woke (resisting the urge to say something snarky about snoring) was 'let's get some emergency water supplies stored up'. I think he just grunted, but I'm determined to do something about it when the traffic calms down.



dinahmow said...

Be sensible, be safe.This sort of thing is a bugger for chesty types.

The Elephant's Child said...

Glad to hear that it seems people are safe and that no-one was hurt.

How I related to you and BB snoring through. Years back the smoke alarm in our house went off and the smaller portion (and his visiting father) missed it completely. Not so much a sleep as a coma.

The nap sounds blissful. Have a lovely studio day in your reprieve from school.

WV: scarie (written by a firie?)

elsewhere said...

Glad you are safe despite the in-sadent. (predictive texting kept on suggesting I change it to 'incident'.)

Ampersand Duck said...

Yes, this combined with all the pollen means more than a few people are going to be unwell over the weekend, perhaps. Spring joys!

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

&D, I packed an emergency incident bag a year or two ago in the wake of the swine flu scare or a bushfire or something. Bottled water, pack of face masks, longlife snacks, tissues, basic first-aid supplies, a torch and (the main thing) reading matter.

KJM101 said...

Well, duck, it sure is nice to have the 'insadent' as a party with the chemicals, blasts and sirens partying together. I don't actually got involved with any incidents except water and voltage shortages.

ronnie said...

I hope someone makes sure the smoke heads NORTH before it heads EAST..... I think we should get someone from the public service on the job.... we hear canberra has quite a few underemployed PS workers looking for a challenging position