I had an important meeting on the 10th floor of that building on Bay Street.
I was in the elevator with three other people, two ladies and a gentleman. I was in a rush to get to my floor. On the 3rd, the elevator got stuck. I pushed the panic button, but the damn contraption would not move. It was stuck.
We were in a panic. There was absolutely no way of talking with people inside the building or the outside world as our cell phones would not work.
Then suddenly everyone started talking about how we could possibly survive in this hopeless situation. Alice, the younger of the two ladies, slim with dark hair, and a pretty face, screamed out,
"What the bloody hell is going on, we've been in here for an hour, and nothing is happening. I can't use my cell phone. My career is on the brink, and I must attend that meeting."
Tom, a man in his late 50s with a large beer belly and balding gray hair intervened,
"This is not about you, young lady; we all have important appointments, not just you."
I could see trouble brewing as I could see a fiery spit of anger in her eyes. I quickly said,
"Look we're all very upset by this situation, but we must be strong and find a way out, so let's be positive and try to get out of this mess."
I felt energy and adrenalin flow through my veins in my iron determination to get out of this hell hole.
They all nodded.
I could see that there was a grate of sorts above us. Perhaps, if I could climb there, and open the grate, we could figure out a way of escaping from this trap.
We were all finding it hard to breathe. The air seemed thin. I didn't want them to panic more by telling them that the air going down the elevator might have been compromised. I kept quiet.
Tom was a tall man over six foot two, so I climbed onto his shoulders and could open the grate.
I was terrified with what I saw! There was smoke everywhere. A catastrophe had occurred and the columns and pillars that held the elevator looked bent. I screamed inside. Was this building on the verge of destruction?
When I got back into the elevator, I could see questioning eyes of the group. I told them,
"This building is on the verge of collapse. We have to get out of here, and climb down to ground level through the columns that holds this damn elevator."
Nancy, a stout blonde woman in her mid thirties started crying and screamed out,
"I can't do this. I am afraid of heights; I would rather die here!"
I shouted back at her,
"You must do this and I will be with you or death is certain!"
She agreed, her frightened eyes said it all.
When I was on the lip of the grate, I assisted the others up. I told them to climb onto the teeth of the column. Each descending tooth was only 8 inches wide, but there was enough space for a foothold. I told Nancy to look at me, and not down as I held her tight. I could see her still blue eyes staring at me in a trance!
The smoke was almost suffocating us, and it became more intense as we slowly climbed down. Alice was losing her breath and cried out in panic,
"I'm choking, please help me." I clambered towards her and put a handkerchief across her face. It seemed to work, she said,
"I feel better but I don't know how long I can last." I gently wiped the tears from her face. I said,
"We will be okay, just have faith in God."
There were faint screaming sounds coming from the floors above! It was eerie and sent a chill through my spine. I could see the others were very frightened too. Tom looked really scared as he screamed out.
"What kind of sound is this? It's creepy."
I shouted back at Tom,
"Keep quiet. Can't you see you're frightening them even more?"
We courageously continued our descent into this dark pit.
When we arrived at the ground level, we were wet with sweat. We could see a small opening, and squeezed out of it.
When we came out, there was a mass of milky cloudy smoke in the concourse of the building. We ran for the exit, and as we did so a group of firemen greeted us, and escorted us outside.
We sucked the clean pure air in deeply, relieved at being alive.
This was an overwhelming experience for all of us, and sharing it brought us closer together. We swapped phone numbers, and I said:
"You're my good friends, and I cherish that. My daughter is graduating tomorrow. I would like you guys to come. I know my little girl will be very happy that you helped her Dad through this ordeal."
There was a warm radiant smile upon their faces as they accepted the invite, we huddled together and hugged each other. There was a special smile on Nancy's face as she looked deeply into my eyes, and I knew that we would share a great friendship!
Ten minutes later when we were about a half a mile from the building it exploded into a rage of fire.
The next day the newspaper reports said that a severe electrical fault caused the fire and that one hundred and sixty eight people died having perished amid the flames from the 4th floor to the 15th level!
How and why we survived was a mystery to me, but I had a dream that night which made some kind of sense, and I cried. In the dream, a bright light glowed from His Hand as He gave the diploma to my daughter while I held my little girl close to me.
God did not want me to miss her graduation and performed a miracle to save us!
But why did so many other souls have to die? I will never know!