I used to think of two things when the phone rang at 4 a.m.: someone died or got arrested. A third now comes to mind: the office is on fire.
My father, Ed, and I are partners of Noonan Law. We share space with Jim Oakley, of Oakley Dispute Resolution, in the Temple Building, at the top of McBride’s Hill on Duckworth Street.
The building has stood strong and proud since it was built in 1895. My father has practised there since he articled under the late Nathaniel Noel in 1969. Jim has been there since the 1980s.
Recently, the building suffered a fire.
Tragedy is relative. The building has extensive fire, smoke and water damage but luckily our files and hard drives are intact. We hope to restore the building to its former glory and, in the meantime, are operating out of a temporary location at Haymarket Square, 233 Duckworth St., Suite 300. Our phone, fax and emails remain the same.
We’d like to thank the security guard who called 911 at 4 a.m. after he saw smoke coming out of the bricks.
I can’t imagine there is much traffic downtown that early on a Tuesday morning. Had he not made a keen observation and reported it quickly, the fire could have taken out the whole block.
We’d like to give a big thank you to the firefighters who courageously attacked the fire. We understand that they went in without being able to see so much as a hand in front of their face. They used high-tech cameras to see through the smoke, quickly identified the source and went after it.
As if this wasn’t enough, they took care to take pictures off walls, put loose papers in files, move cabinets and bookcases all into safe areas. Care was also taken not to damage the building any more than was necessary to put out the fire. Equal parts courage and skill allowed our building to come away standing, and spared adjoining properties from damage.
We’d like to thank our colleagues who called, texted and emailed, all offering assistance in any way possible. Say what you will about lawyers — when a colleague is in trouble, they are at the ready to help out.
Finally, we’d like to thank the fine people at Simmonds and Partners Defence. The hoses were still in the building when I received a text at 5:45 a.m. offering office space. We kindly took them up on their offer. Because of them, we are up and running today, business as usual.
As I said, tragedy is relative. Had it not been for the good work of those involved, things could have been much worse.