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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

Work stinks (literally!)

People often say ‘work stinks.’ They’re probably expressing frustration or dissatisfaction with something. But Friday morning that phrase took on a whole new meaning. Work stunk. LITERALLY!

When we walked in the door Friday morning we could immediately smell it in the foyer…something smelled like melting plastic. I asked the Controller (the first office inside the door) what smelled. He matter-of-factly said ‘we had a fire last night.’ Then he told me what happened and said ‘we’re very fortunate. The whole place could’ve gone up.’

I work at a wholesale distributor for entry doors, so in the back are thousands of steel and fiberglass door slabs, all kinds of prefinish material (paint and stain), and a boatload of wood products to make the door jambs. Maybe 1 or 2 things that could be considered flammable.


The day before (Thursday) the guys in back had 46 steel doors to cut down. The scrap from the cut downs are placed in a big dumpster next to the cutdown machine. So is the sawdust and other shop scrap. The steel scraps were still hot and about 6:30pm Thursday night they started the sawdust smoldering. Based on the security cameras it smoked a while and then you see this huge flashpot. This was one of the large dumpsters you see at construction sites and it was flaming the entire width and higher than the top of the dumpster. It looked like a huge bonfire! Because it was zero degrees outside and our alarm system is a heat detector, no alarms sounded. It burned out without sparking anything else. When the managers got in around 6:30am on Friday the entire warehouse was filled with smoke and it was smokey even up in the office area. The fire was in the BACK warehouse so it had to travel a considerable distance – through a walkway and another smaller inventory warehouse to get to the office area. It wreaked!

They had all the loading dock bays and any other exterior door or bay open to air the place out (production gets in an hour after the managers got there). They basically froze out Production for an hour. Even in the office we had the smoke feeling in our throats and had small headaches. I was going to eat lunch upstairs but went out for some fresh air – man, did I feel the difference! How the guys in back made it through the day I still don’t know, other than they said ‘you get used to it.’ We all have a greater appreciation for firefighters!

It was an obvious opportunity to simply say ‘Someone is looking out for us.’ I told the President I was thankful for the protection & would continue to pray that God protects the Company.’ He simply wrote back ‘Thanks, Sue.’

We are thankful for His hand of protection. People said ‘we were very fortunate.’ I simply responded ‘Someone was watching out for us.’ It’s a chance to plant seeds. May He bring the water to cause the growth.

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