So let me tell you about what happened at Katsucon
As some of you may know, there was a fire at the Gaylord Hotel around 1pm.
From this witness’s perspective let me tell you how it went down.
See what had happened was:
- The Time: Let’s be thankful that this happened at 1pm during the day and not 1 am. With the chaos and confusion (more on that in a second) if this was in the wee hours of the morning, things would have been worse.
- The response time: With the rapid response of the fire dept. it took maybe an hour for Gaylord to let people back in, thus the PGFD were the real heroes!
- It wasn’t as bad as we thought: Contrary to rumors that it was a pulled fire alarm or someone smoking weed in their rooms, the cause was a small kitchen fire that was easily contained.
- Getting a clear idea that there was an emergency: Depending on where you were, it took maybe 15 minutes for it to register that it was not a drill. There were a lot of shoots going on and many people didn’t take it seriously until actual hotel staff told us to clear the building
- Nearly getting turned away: There was a restaurant (which for the sake of this piece will not be named) that tried to turn many of us away while we were seeking shelter from the bitter cold. Thankfully the manager was working the door at the time we came piling in and after a few words, he allowed us to stay, but…it really would not have killed them to offer hot beverages to people (who were willing to pay) who were freezing cold.
- The bitter cold: I can’t emphasize it enough but you can look at the pics and see that it was an ordeal for many people especially cosplayers who were not dressed for the weather to get out and find a place to keep warm.
Ooh!! The stories!!! The actual stuff that happened!!!!
- Miscommunication: can’t pin this on anyone but, we were told to go outside…less than ten minutes later, the all clear was given, then, we were told to move to the conference areas and shelter in place, as soon as some of us gravitated there, then many of us were told to go out. It was really bad getting accurate communication across. We were lucky that the fire wasn’t more serious!
- There was a guy who was in the pool when the alarm went off. Can you imagine having to vac outside dripping wet into the bitter cold with nothing but a towel and skivvies? I sure hope that the hotel comped his stay!
- The idiots arguing with hotel staff to STAY in a building when being amply told it was on fire and blocking points of egress while most of us were trying to LEAVE.
- Of course getting back in and all the shoots that were scheduled at one…blown. Everyone scattered to the winds.
- Also depending on who you hear it from, there was a major traffic backup that stretched for almost a mile as authorities dealt with the fire.
- Supposedly, the dealer and vendor rooms barely got word that anything was happening but again thankfully everyone made it out ok.
Again, still have to send a shout out to the Fire Dept. for coming in and making sure everything was ok.
As far as we know…everyone made it out ok and no one was hurt.
It was also great seeing people step up to try and help those that were freezing and those that documented the event.
This one was one for the ages.