Chapter 37 – Chance to prove myself again!
Outside of the cafeteria.
After Dong Xuebing, Tan Limei and the rest heard about the fire, they immediately ran out of the cafeteria and look towards the direction of the grey building. The fire was at the General Affairs Office’s building. Thick billowing smoke was coming out from the second floor. It was slightly further away from Dong Xuebing’s office. The thick smoke had covered the corridor and coming out from the windows. It seems that the fire was quite big.
“Whose office was that? Why did it catch fire?”
“We had called just now.”
The compound was filled with people.
At first, Dong Xuebing still did not think much of the fire. It was none of his business. But when he saw Li Qing and Zhou Changchun’s face, he immediately realized something was wrong. He looked at the second floor where the smoke was coming out. Damn! That was Li Qing’s office!
Li Qing shouted: “Quick. All those from the General Affairs Office, follow me!”
Zhou Changchun was wiping his sweat on his face and ran behind Li Qing towards that burning building. “Hurry and put out the fire.”
Guo Shunjie and Guo Panwei had caught up with them. Dong Xuebing knew that this was an emergency. He quickly ran forward with Tan Limei. Dong Xuebing knew that it was the faulty electric kettle that caused the fire. Li Qing and Zhou Changchun had forgotten to unplug it before leaving the office. They had to take responsibility for the fire, and the two very important documents were still in his office. If the documents were damaged, the whole General Affairs Office might be punished.
The corridor on the second floor was covered in thick smoke, and it was choking.
There were some people from the Political Section and Finance Department trying to put out the fire. They were throwing pails of water at the burning wooden door.
“The door is damaged by the fire and cannot be opened.”
“Put out the fire on the door first. Stop it from spreading.”
“Get a few more pails of water! It is not enough!”
Li Qing was panicking. He grabbed a fire extinguisher along the way to the building and spray it on the door. Guo Shunjie and Guo Panwei could not find any fire extinguishers. They could only get the pails and collect water from the washroom nearby. Changjuan, Dong Xuebing and the rest arrived shortly and helped to put out the fire.
“What’s happening? Li Qing, tell me what is happening?” A stern looking middle-aged man ran over from the end of the corridor. He was Yan Liang, Director of the District Branch Bureau.
Li Qing was panicking: “Director Yan, I…… I don’t know why my office caught fire.” He was lying through his teeth and trying to avoid taking responsibility.
Director Yan points at him: “I don’t care. Hurry up and save whatever documents in there!”
“Director Yan, I, I……” Li Qing was at a loss of words. “It’s fine if the rest of the documents were damaged. But…… but the two documents you passed to me this morning is…… still in my office.”
“What?!” Director Yan’s face changed. “Say that again?”
Li Qing’s fire extinguisher had run out, and he quickly explained: “This morning, the Confidential Documents Department was having a meeting and there was no one to accept the documents. So, I brought it back to my office and will deliver it after lunch. But who knows……”
Director Yan shouted: “Are you allowed to keep those documents in your office? What did I tell you when I pass you the documents? Those documents have no backups and were very important. How can you leave it in your office and go out for lunch? Do you know the procedures of handling these highly classified documents? Do you know?!”
Zhou Changchun was standing by the side sweating profusely.
Li Qing replied: “Director, don’t worry. There should be enough time to get the documents out.” The fire on the office door was extinguished. Li Qing shouted to Guo Panwei. “Stop trying to put out the fire and kick the door down. Get the documents in my desk’s second drawer on the right. Get it out of the fire even if it cost your life!”
Guo Panwei knew that if he could rescue the documents from the fire, it will be a great credit. He rushed forward and kicked on the door. Bang! But the door did not open. Dong Xuebing also saw this opportunity and wanted to kick the door. But Guo Shunjie pushed him aside and kicked the door.
The door fell off its latches.
Dong Xuebing nearly cursed out loud after seeing the chance to gain credit was snatched by others.
Guo Shunjie was laughing in his heart and wanted to rush into the office.
Guo Panwei was not far behind either. He ran into the room after him.
But after they stepped into the room, they could feel the heat in their faces. The room was covered in thick black smoke.
Guo Panwei and Guo Shunjie got shocked. They used all their strength to avoid the fire and run out of the room.
Li Qing and Zhou Changchun who were panicking shouted out orders: “Go in and get the documents. It is in the second drawer!”
Guo Panwei and Guo Shunjie thought the fire was only around the door. But when they entered the room, they saw everything in the office were on fire. The shelves filled with books, the stacks of documents in the corners, computer, writing desk, etc. were all on fire. They were staring at the raging fire in the office. Guo Shunjie and Guo Panwei were not willing to go in and risk their lives. No matter how big that credit was, it was not worth using their lives to exchange for it.
“I can’t. The documents must have been burnt by the fire.” Guo Panwei moved back.
Guo Shunjie also took a few steps back. He was afraid the fire would burn him.
Li Qing cursed silently and clenched his fist. He wanted to run into the room, but he hesitated. He does not have the guts to enter the room.
“The fire extinguisher is here!” Zhuang Zhi and Tan Limei were running from a distance with a fire extinguisher each. They tried to extinguish the fire.
Everybody at the scene knew there was no way to save those documents. The fire was raging.
Director Yan pointed at Li Qing and Zhou Changchun: “What the hell is your General Affairs Office doing?!” He paused for a while and continued. “Do you know what those documents are? Do you know?! Your department cannot even do such a simple task. What is the use of keeping all of you here? I want your resignation letter on my desk tomorrow!”
Zhou Changchun knew there was nothing he could do. He lowered his head and kept quiet. He thought he would be able to retire at the rank of Section Chief, but now……..
Tan Limei, Guo Panwei and the rest were all looking down in shame.
Li Qing could not say a word. Resign? This job was essential to him. His daughter needs his salary to pay for her medical treatment. If he lost his job, what would he do? There was no way he could do anything now.
Suddenly there was a loud splash.
A man snatched a pail of water and splashed on himself, making himself all wet and ran into the burning office. Everybody was shocked.
It was Dong Xuebing!
Everybody at the scene was staring in disbelieve.
This person dares to jump into the sea of fire?
“Are you trying to kill yourself? Come back! The documents are burnt!”