Home > The Monday Musings Column > things that go bump in the night – a Halloween special tale from the facilities front line

things that go bump in the night – a Halloween special tale from the facilities front line

“We’ve lost about 100 yards of fence”.  The words were succinct and, as it turned out, accurate, but when you hear them on the ‘phone at 0130 having been woken from a deep sleep to take the call they take a moment or so to register.

Outside the wind howled and the rain lashed on the windows. It was a foul night, but I was on call so I told the security guard who had rung me that I would be with him in about ten minutes and dragged on some warm clothes. My waterproof hi-viz gear was in the back of the car and I was quickly on my way.

Heading into the industrial estate where the site was located the problem was immediately apparent. We hadn’t so much lost the fence as had it dragged out into the road which it was blocking. The fence in question was about 8 foot high wire mesh with a triple strand barbed wire topping and a good length of it had just been ripped out of the ground and dragged into the street.

One of the two security guards on duty came over to my car as I surveyed the scene. The story was that a car transporter had elected to perform at three point turn outside of our site before driving off back towards the main road. Unfortunately the driver had misjudged the reverse and stuck the corner of his trailer through our fence. When he had then driven off he took a long length of our fence with him and left it in the road.

My security guys had already rung the Police and told them, but I felt that they would have enough to do on a night like this, so what to do? As a logistics site we had plenty of equipment and so I gathered up a couple of the largest size load restraining straps that I could find and fired up one of the big counterbalance fork lift trucks that we used out in the yard. Hooking up the fork lift to the end of the fence I was able to drag it out of the road and, to my surprise, as I pulled it roughly into position it showed a natural tendency to return to the vertical.

With an adjustment in the location of the straps we got the fence to a position where, with some smaller straps, we could tie it back to the nearest remaining undamaged post. Despite the dreadful conditions within 20 minutes of my arrival the two of us had the fence secured with just a bit of sag in the middle of the damaged length. That we were able to fix it that well in defiance of a wind that was gusting at 40 to 50 mph was an achievement and it was good enough as a repair that the whole thing was still standing by daylight.

I was home in bed by half past three to grab a bit of sleep before being back in to office for 0730 that day as usual. A check of the fence in daylight showed the extent of the damage, but the repair was holding up well enough and few people mentioned the jury rigged repairs if they did notice them.

One thing we did find in daylight was a number plate that turned out to off the car transporter and that, with our CCTV footage, helped us get the repairs paid for by the culprit’s employers.

This didn’t happen on All Hallows, but it was certainly one of those nights when something did go bump; it’s never a dull life in FM!

  1. October 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks John. Isn’t FM a wonderful profession to work in?! Never a dull moment, and tons of job satisfaction when the ‘out of the box’ solutions pay off!

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