Diane Puffenbarger

Diane Puffenbarger, Procurement Services

When Diane Puffenbarger got a call around midnight saying that her office building was on fire, she contacted the rest of the employees in her office to tell them the bad news, and not to come in to work the next day. However, they all did come in, and when they saw the remains of the building, "all of us were shocked and saddened to see the devastation of our complex."

Since procurement services was located on the ground floor of Medical Arts East, most of the damage in those offices came from the water dripping down and the water-soaked ceiling dropping on everything. Puffenbarger recalls that Towana Moore, associate vice president for administration and finance, was one of the first people that the Fire Marshal allowed to go into the building, and the first thing she did was "gather all our family pictures from our desks and walls to save them. She took them down to the facilities management office, and the girls there took all the pictures out of their frames and were able to save all our pictures. We all appreciated that so much."

After the initial rescue phase, they shared space, phones and equipment with the in the facilities management office for a couple of days, then moved to the Williamson Lab for two weeks and finally settled in their current location at One Court Square.

Puffenbarger worked with Virginia Correctional Enterprises after the fire to obtain furniture for everyone displaced from their offices, and she also compiled lost furniture information for insurance purposes. "Since some of the records were no longer available, I had to try many sources to obtain the information so the report could be as accurate as possible," she recalls.

In less than two weeks, Virginia Correctional Enterprises got furniture to the offices so that they were operational again as soon as possible. Unfortunately, all of the work that it took to become operational again meant that Puffenbarger "naturally got behind on some of my other projects."

She would like to extend a "special thanks to Towana Moore and the Office of Facilities Management, and the many shops that worked so hard to get us where we are, including operations, work control, moving, utility, housekeeping, telecom, IT and all the other departments. They were all very instrumental in getting us functional. Everything was very much appreciated, and we thank everyone for all their support and hard work."

Also while financial services was displaced, the human resources staff sent pizzas and several people brought food to our temporary offices. Commonwealth One donated sandwiches and drinks to everyone displaced by the fire.

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