The morning was beginning to meet a bit of normalities. Jason and I had a hard time waking up and getting to work, but are sleeping fairly well. Mornings seem to be especially hard because of the dry air. We are constantly waking with the stuffy nose and dry throat. By the time we get a little breakfast and get the day rolling, things are pretty good. Jason is threatening to not sleep anymore jsut so that he doesn’t have to experience the mornings. After breakfast, Jason met up with Bob for final words of wisdom. Bob is leaving today (which, of course, makes Jason a little nervous). I worked in my office for a bit and then hobbled my way down to the power plant to learn about my additional water sampling responsibilities. It’s all HACH kit stuff, so there’s nothing difficult about it. I’m still walking on a flat left foot and a tippy-toed right foot. If I even think about putting the right foot flat, it’s pretty painful. Most of the path to the power plant is via stairs in the “Beer Can” (so named because it looks like a huge silver beer can from the outside). Ninety-something stairs…good times (even more so on the way back up to my office). Jason walked Bob out to the flight deck, took some pics, and they exchanged their good-byes and good-lucks.
We met up for lunch in the galley around noon. We were sitting at lunch when the fire alarm sounded. “There’s a fire in the power plant.” Our stomachs dropped. I grabbed my stuff and began the hobble down to the plant. As it turns out, there had been maintenance on one of the generators and the cooling fan wasn’t turned back on so the generator overheated. We kept command of the situation from an emergency response standpoint until generator #2 was up and running and #3 was cooling down. I handed off my clipboard and oxygen meter to a hasty team member and began “crutching my way up the stairs”.
We held a debrief for the team. Like the other responses, we learned some things we could have/should have done better and identified the things we did well. From a drill standpoint, we did a lot of things really well…but definitely some things to improve upon. Luckily, we were blessed with a 2nd alarm just an hour or two later. “There’s a fire in the power plant”. I began the hobble down the entire beer can for the 3rd time today. This time, they had moved back over to generator #3, but the heat sensor for the alarm had melted when the generator got so hot last time. The good news is that we implemented all of the controls that we had missed on the first drill. We might be all set for any future fire issues in the power plant. With things under control, I began the 3rd crutch back up the beer can. A good workout day for the upper body - that’s for sure. Below are two pictures of the Beer Can. The exterior shot shows why it’s called the Beer Can. It really only shows about half of it, since the rest is under the snow and leads to tunnels that go to the archs and the Old Dome. The inteior shot gives more of an idea of how high it is (about 8 stories).
As mentioned yesterday, the physical therapist from McMurdo flew in today. She saw me hobbling in the late afternoon and immediately set an appointment to see me tomorrow. She’s concerned that I’ll allow that leg to become shorter and permanently be a ballerina. The rest of the day went fairly smooth. I taught a class on confined spaces in the late afternoon, dinner as usual - went to bed early and propped the leg up with ice again.