It was winter 2010and the weather was bad. The snow was knee deep and still falling. I was at work and sitting at the reception desk. It had been such a busy night with people checking in and people coming off the street looking for somewhere to stay.
A woman came in to the reception area with her three kids. Straight away I could tell she was a gypsy traveller, the way she spoke and looked. She went on to tell me that she needed a room for the night as she was going to a women’s refuge and was scared to drive anymore in the snow. We wouldn’t normally let gypsy’s stay as we have had trouble with them in the past, trashing rooms and asking for refunds. Feeling sorry for her I let them stay, little did I know how much trouble she would bring!
I had ten minutes to go until the end of my shift. I couldn’t wait to get finished. It was the new night porter Alec who was taking over from me. I signed everything over to him and told him I was staying in room 15 due to the bad weather and I was back on in the morning. I got my stuff and headed up to the room. I was so tired. All I wanted to do was put my pyjamas on and get in to bed. I set my alarm for 6am. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was out like a light.
All of a sudden, this noise what I thought was my alarm penetrating through my ear. Realising it wasn’t I shot up out the bed. The fire alarm was going off. The noise was so loud. Grabbing my coat and shoes I headed out my room. My body started to tremble as I walked down the corridor. That feeling of disorientation as I had just woke up. Meeting guests in the hallway I told them to head out of the building. Alec was in the corridor he said to me that he has called the fire brigade and it was zone 1 that the alarm was going off. Knowing that the family I checked in earlier were in room 9. I went down the corridor to knock on their door. I got halfway down the corridor. I could smell burning. Stopping dead in my tracks, I...