It was a quiet morning in the Ormond Academic Centre. I’d settled down into an enclave conveniently close to a powerpoint, headphones on, keyboard at the ready, about to smash through some study. Moisis was yelling incoherently about some cause we should all believe in, Lex Thompson quietly judging the Freshers laying garries in the corner; it was going to be a good day.
It all happened so fast. My study was interrupted by the familiar piercing screech of Ormond’s fire alarm. The student body trudged out onto Picken Lawn, sick of all those goddamn fire drills. But this time, something felt different. Jesse and Harry were wearing hard hats and sporting their most serious faces. On Picken Lawn, we saw smoke coming out of a window on MB2 West. At first, we thought it was Gav having a dart. But as the smoke continued pouring steadily from our windows, the worst was realised. Main Building was actually on fire.
There is significant lore about how Ormond College is the most flammable building in the southern hemisphere, which I readily dismissed as the biggest O-Week fib since Anna Kloptakova. Immediately, though, those fears came rushing back. Our minds jumped to worst-case scenarios – what if the whole floor burns down and we all have to sleep together in some kind of giant corridor-room? Some took it better than others. Gav was actually still just hanging out in his room assuming it was a fire drill; Luke Scott wandered around the halls, aloof and clueless; Hugh Utting stayed back to watch the firemen in action.
Bianca just couldn’t.
The Towering Inferno that was once my beloved West Wing was set upon by Melbourne’s Finest, exhibiting obvious surprise that they’d been summoned to Ormond for a legitimate fire. They whipped out their hoses and let rip on the West Wing corridor, unfortunately causing some pretty serious water damage to the west side of Main Building. Some lost their carpets, many lost their homes.
Those displaced by the West Wing Tragedy are scattered about the college. We’ve set up a refugee camp in the Kaye Scott Room. Right now they’re redoing our carpets; in the interim, we come home in the evenings to the pleasant smell of o-zone and wet dog. We will be accepting donations to the West Wing Flood Relief Fund, an operation currently being run out of Luke Bennett’s room. He’s selling $4 coffees from his Nespresso machine in our Care 4 A Coffee initiative.
But we are a strong community. The West Wing Flood, far from distancing us from each other, brought us together ever stronger. We shall overcome. We will rebuild.
Reporting first on the scene, Amani Green.