Sometimes I shiver at the prescience of my past blog posts. Like the time I wrote about the “ice castle” that was being built outside of my office and said, “What could possibly go wrong?” (It collapsed while its creator was talking to a reporter for the New York Times.)
I got the same shiver when I read my 2013 “Old Wood” series about the historic Globe Elevator in Superior. (See Part 1 and Part 2.) The owners were trying to save their wood reclamation business from bankruptcy. The last line of my story was, “These pieces of history should not go up in smoke.”
Guess what? Unfortunately, the old grain elevator, some equipment, and a couple million dollars of wood burned in an accidental fire last month.
The sight of flames and a plume of smoke out my office window alerted me to the fire. My coworkers and I immediately felt the lingering trauma of the Husky Energy Refinery Fire that happened this spring near our office and required a community evacuation. We made frantic calls to assess the danger and whether we should leave again.
Thankfully, no explosive chemicals were involved in this fire, just some really dry and valuable old wood, so we didn’t need to evacuate. The people I interviewed for my previous posts no longer owned the site – others were working to salvage the wood. News reports blame a spark from a piece of equipment for starting the fire, which quickly engulfed the elevator.
Another thing to be thankful for is that the elevator was out on a spit of land in the harbor away from other structures, so there wasn’t much danger of the fire spreading elsewhere. The location did make firefighting a challenge, however, because it was a long way away from a hydrant. Once the flames calmed down enough, fire crews were able to pump water from the harbor to put out the fire.
Anyway, now I’m rather paranoid to write about anything for fear of encouraging mayhem. I learned during Christmas gatherings with my relatives that I am now known as “the cousin in the middle of all the disasters.”
Of course, I know I don’t really have the power to write disasters into existence, but you’ve got to admit, my record is rather uncanny!