OK … that’s just a stupid title, right? But, it was stuck in my head and the only way I can rid myself of things like that is to release it the only way I know how … just let my fingers do the talking. There’s an underlying motive, of course. I always have one or two of those. For this topic it’s the demise of the Les Schwab tire store in St. Helens, Oregon. It was quite spectacular.
I was first made aware of the problem when I looked south from our porch and saw an incredibly huge, black column of smoke. Neither of us heard sirens, and we can normally hear them no matter where they’re going in town. If we had a police scanner we could have quickly discovered what was going on, but we don’t so had to use conventionally means. In this case, it was from the Channel 2 news helicopter from Portland.
Diane was very concerned about Daniel’s & Jennifer’s home being involved because of the direction we were looking to see the smoke column. I was confident it wasn’t a house, however, because they cast off white smoke as a rule, not black. Still, she had to go look and told me that what she saw scared her to death. The plume of smoke was directly in line with their home but as she got closer she could tell it was farther out toward Highway 30. Before Diane departed on her investigative trip she speculated the fire may be at Les Schwab, but had to check. I don’t blame her.
By the time she got home Channel 2 was showing pictures that confirmed the location. The entire facility was fully engulfed in flames and Highway 30 was closed to all traffic. The local power company had to cut power, too, because the flames were licking at the lines. Not good. Also, the road closure occurred in the middle of the annual Hood to Coast walk/run and all the walkers had to be re-routed. Just one thing after another. Local businesses have come to rely on the extra revenue created by the increase in traffic through town so re-routing the walkers/runners was a potential financial loss because of the extra folks hired, and the extended hours they worked. For example, Jennifer works at Safeway and was put on the midnight to 4:30am shift … our Safeway isn’t normally open all night, but this night it was because the Hood to Coast Runners were scheduled to come through at midnight.
Due to the diligence, and hard work by the local firefighters, the blaze was extinguished, and the highway reopened to traffic before the the runners arrived, so everyone was happy. Everyone, that is, except Terry, the Les Schwab manager. We know Terry. I’ve been buying tires from him for many years. So the fire hit a personal note with us.
The entire store was lost, including 4 vehicles that were inside being worked on at the time of the fire. It was really, really bad. The only upside is that no one was injured. For that, we’re very happy. The only real downside for us is that I have a $100 credit on my Les Schwab account. I was going to take the old Chevy truck down there for new tires. Now I’ll have to wait until the Grand Opening of the new store when it’s rebuilt. I’m just guessing it’s going to be rebuilt, or course. We’ll see.
Sorry for all the somber news, but that’s all I have right now. It’s not a subject that I can take lightly because of the huge potential for injury by all the firefighters and police involved with taking care of everything, as well as the financial loss by the store owner. No doubt they are insured, but it’s still tough to deal with.
Here’s what it all looked like while it was in progress …
… and this is what it looks like today …
Now it’s time to quit and plan my strategy for helping them rebuild this thing because the truck really needs new tires.
Speaking of the truck, I drove it down to Jennifer’s and Dan’s to pick up the remnants of a couple of bushes they cut down, and transport it to our burn pile. It took me two trips. During the process of cutting the branches down to size, I was stung by the one remaining bee from the nest they discovered a few days ago. I think I mentioned it in a previous entry. Now I have this nice welt on the back of my arm. Then, after transporting all the dismantled branches, I finished my trip through the front yard with “Grandpa’s Weeder” to remove all the dandelions I could find. Now the front yard looks like a combat zone … holes everywhere. I’ve been seriously thinking about fertilizing that yard one of these days. I’m told, by the owner of a computer I resurrected yesterday, that doing so would easily rid the yard of all the weeds, moss, and clover.