On Monday morning we crowded into the Galley for a Safety Meeting. There we were told to practice various precautions against fire, and then watched twenty minutes of videos where we saw the old Chapel burn down and also the old Heavy Shop. Curiously, an hour after that, more or less, the Smurf Shack at Pegasus airfield was in flames. The Fire Department was called out, but it was too late to save the miserable little blue shack.
Presently, Waste, Haz, Fuels, and Fleet-Ops are cleaning up the mess, while investigators are investigating the various investigable aspects from over 8,000 miles away in Denver and will get back to us shortly with the truth of what happened. In the course of this investigation, they are asking people on the ice to tell them what the Smurf Shack is, what it looked like, what was its function, what was the layout (door here, window here, microwave here, etc) and for a full inventory of its contents. Then, by this map, read from across the world, perhaps there will be a decree, robust and confident, as to the source of this mishap, and it will go down in the books.
In any case, I miss you, Smurf Shack. You warmed me while I ate frozen pizzas for lunch, and you had some hunting magazines, and a fake rifle on the wall, and a fake harpoon, and a very uncomfortable couch, and some old handwarmers that might or might not work, and a beaten table, and a chair whose seat fell off, and some old pages from an MSDS folder, and some pens that didn’t work, and a faulty doorknob, but you did have a telephone, but you didn’t have much else, aside from shelter, which is all that really counts in the end, old sport. So thanks.
From the Christchurch Press (with pics of the fire!):
Antarctic ‘smurf shed’ destroyed
By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Thursday, 15 May 2008
The “smurf shed” at Antarctica’s McMurdo station has been destroyed by fire in eerie circumstances.
The fire happened hours after staff met to discuss fire safety at the American Antarctic station.
The last time staff met for a safety meeting they discussed vehicle safety and crashes and hours later a Hagglund ice vehicle rolled over.
The shed went up in flames on Monday at around 10.20am. It was a small blue mobile shed that stored equipment used for maintaining roads on the ice continent.
It was 30 minutes away from the McMurdo base sitting at Pegasus Airfield when it caught fire. Fire crews rushed to put it out but all that was left when they arrived were two fuel tanks burning furiously. Foam eventually brought the burning tanks under control before snow was heaped on to the smouldering tanks.
It was the latest in a string of unfortunate incidents for the American base. Late last year a bad Santa was reprimanded over “inappropriate touching”.
Earlier, there was an emergency medical evacuation to Christchurch after a punch-up.
There was also what was believed to be Antarctica’s first car chase on Ross Island.
Here’s a picture of the interior of the Smurf Shack in Summer ’02:
Here’s a photo of the aftermath, and a video of cleaning up the remains of the Smurf Shack: