Surviving a “Hostage Situation”

10 11 2009

This morning my young life flashed before my eyes.

In my office building there was an announcement over the intercom in the hall to shut and lock all doors and to not let anyone inside.  Since I’m at the front desk of our office I was the only one who could hear what was said.  I flew into action: ran to shut the file room across the hallway and slammed and locked the front door of our office.

I explained to my co-workers what I had heard and then we received news that there was a hostage situation a few floors beneath us (our office is on the top floor of the building).  My mind reeled.  I immediately thought of the recent shootings that had taken place around the nation.  It seemed logical for someone to attack a governmental building, people are crazy like that.

My heart rate was up and I was in hyper-aware and scared mode.  Anything seemed possible, especially bad things.  I prayed a lot and I called my husband, my mom, and my mother-in-law to assure them I was ok at the moment and to tell them I had no idea what was going on.  No one knew what was going on.  Snipers were set up on rooftops around our building, other buildings around us were evacuated, news people kept calling, cop cars everywhere, and the SWAT team and tanker were outside.

An hour or two later we got news that it was possible there was a mistake, that there might not be a real hostage situation.  Some glitch in the security system or a button mistakenly pushed.  That calmed me down a bit, though my mind was still racing and I was shaking a bit.  I tried to go about my work.  We just waited.

Then the SWAT team arrived on our floor.  We were ordered to get out of the office single file.  We were searched, told to not put our hand in our pockets (my mistake), and our ID’s checked.

The second time my purse was searched the SWAT officer pulled a large object out.  “What’s inside this?” he said.  “Sunglasses,” I replied.  He smiled and said, “Those sunglasses must be huge!”  Then another SWAT officer looked me in the eyes with a funny expression on his face.  “I’m just checking to see if your eyes were really that big,” he said.  I was kind of confused, but I laughed at bit (it really is funny).

We then headed down the seven flights of stairs to the main floor.  We were ushered into a nearby restaurant where I sat in a booth and was interviewed by a police officer.  He was nice and quick.  Then we were marched a specific way to the parking garage and sent on our way.

Come to find out we were the first floor to be evacuated, so there were still people waiting in nine other floors to leave.  The building is closed for the rest of the day, of course.

What an experience.  Things like that remind you how precious and short life is and how important loved ones are.  It just makes you thankful to God for everything, every breath, every moment.

I hope that it was indeed a false alarm or something of that nature.  I also hope that no one ever goes through that again.

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9 responses

10 11 2009
Carol

Wow! I’m glad you are alright! That is super scary.

15 11 2009
Kara "Sky" McGinty

Yeah, it was crazy!

10 11 2009
Carol

Kara,
So sorry you had to go through this scary experience. When your mom called I was out shopping with Kari & Ethan. Before we went on with our shopping we prayed for your safety. I was so relieved when your mom called with the good news you were on your way home.

Love,
Aunt Carol

15 11 2009
Kara "Sky" McGinty

Thank you so much for the prayers, I really appreciate them.

11 11 2009
Aunt Pat

Kara,
I was just trying to catch up on your blogs and what a surprise!!! I’m so sorry that you had to experience that kind of fear. But, I’m very grateful that everything worked out okay.

I’ve really enjoyed reading about your exploits and you’ll have to let me know if the Anne Rice on your nightstand is good – it looks like one I might want to read.

Tell Eric Hi from Virginia/DC!!

Love you,
Aunt Pat

15 11 2009
Kara "Sky" McGinty

I’m afraid I haven’t picked up the Anne Rice book in a while. I will try again soon though and I’ll let you know!

15 11 2009
Kara "Sky" McGinty

Thanks for the prayers and comments everyone! 🙂 It was definitely a day I won’t forget, but I am very happy to report that it was pretty clearly a glitch in our security system.

17 11 2009
Holly Stockard

Omg! I had no idea that you were in that building! We had a mass email sent to all employees at SBU to pray for that exact situation! I had no idea that you were in that building! And I thought I was praying for strangers! I’m so glad you were ok. Small, small world…nothing like a God moment to constantly remind you what really matters in this life.

20 11 2009
Kara "Sky" McGinty

Oh wow! Thanks for the prayers, Holly, and thank everyone at SBU for me. It is a small world, definitely.

And yes, God certainly knows how to get our attention!

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