Fire on the New Year, White Death in the Air

There is nothing quite as pretty as a mill fire at 5 o’clock in the morning.

For those who don’t know, Upstate South Carolina was once a bastion of the textile industry. The industry spent decades building fortresses of fibers, large towering brick structures full of wood and chemicals. Then it all went in the toilet. Some people blame NAFTA. Some people blame other things. Regardless, those once powerful fortresses became fires waiting to happen.

I was still awake at 5AM on New Year’s Day. The party still hadn’t quite broken up. My wife and two good buddies were finishing off what was left of our few remaining brain cells. We watched the morning news and watched the Appleton Mill in nearby Anderson…all 20 acres of buildings…burn. It was magnificent. I’ve covered mill fires from the ground before. They are a sight to behold. Had I not been so intoxicated, I would’ve wanted to be in the helicopter above this one. It was spectatcular.

However, I was in no condition to move from my couch.

The party started about 7:30 and raged hard until about three the next morning. All in all, there were about 35 people there. Almost all of the food and a goodly portion of all the drink disappeared. We celebrated at the stroke of midnight. Everybody kissed each other. It was a fine time.

Around one (that’s Midnight Central Time) Brother Beaker called with some fantastic news. I’ll let him share the details, but suffice to to say…I have a bachelor party to plan.

The Upstate is now watching the sky for White Death. A strange storm is brewing in southern Georgia and Alabama. It is supposed to start dumping White Death on our highways and byways this afternoon.

It’s funny how Buffalo, NY can peacefully deal with seven feet of snow and we won’t be able to handle a few inches.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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