When the alarm went off I remember exactly what I was doing. Somehow, alarms have that affect on my memory, the ability to make synapsis fire in high definition. My afternoon had been going well, I was somwhere between my second cup of coffee and elation, having just returned from a handful of press meetings outlining our winter line up of New Zealand bands, food and a backcountry film festival. In an instant, the smell of plastic saturated the room…again.
The business down stairs had burned some plastic a couple of days earlier, so I chuckled, closed my computer and grabbed my jacket. I met Gary (my boss) in the lobby, and I instantly regretted leaving my computer on that table. “Now” he said, “Get out now”.
I followed the chatting girls downstairs to our meeting area, as Gary hurried to clear the building. The flames where already head high, licking the ceiling. No. Surely it couldnt get any bigger. I thought, as the fire trucks arrived. Gary got the last guy out, the fire crew cleared the zone. It grew. They increased the perimeter. Smoke billowed from the top. Then flames. Hundreds stood on the street to watch what seemed like a massive blaze, especially by our small towns standards. It seemed our affinity for fine stained wood was working against us.
From the staff, tears started to flow and I was not immune. Later, the irony was not lost from us. How many people pray for their work to be destroyed? All we could do was sob, not because of the building but because of the unexpected future and the loss of a collective livelihood.
A few days, and many sleepless nights later, it seems that some good has already started to blossom out of the carcass of that sooty snowy building. Ridiculous amonts of outreach and community support keep us going.
Here is some of the local support: http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/business/8719497/Bars-owners-intend-it-to-rise-from-the-ashes
Here is the far from perfect webpage Gary and I built in 48 hours, it also has before & after shots of the bar on the home page http://world-bar.squarespace.com/.