Yesterday afternoon, as Motor Man and I started home across the James River Bridge from Newport News, he spotted a huge plume of black smoke in the distance. Immediately, he said that it appeared to be in the area of Surry, the adjacent county to where we live – and my “home” county.
A few minutes later, I received a text from a close friend, a former co-worker of mine at a small processing plant, famous for its cured hams, bacon and sausage. Her text was brief:
“Have you u heard the plant is on fire“
As usual, Motor Man’s sense of direction was correct: the fire was in Surry.
Later in the day, as soon as time permitted, Motor Man and I traveled the twenty miles to Surry. We just needed to be with our friend. She, like some of the other employees, had been sitting in their vehicles across the street from the plant since it had been evacuated around lunchtime.
In spite of nearly a dozen fire departments on the scene, the building was still burning three hours after the fire began. At times, the smoke nearly obscured the late afternoon sun.
Particularly emotional for me was seeing the office area in flames.
Although mine was an office job, one of my duties was conducting tours of the plant for visitors. I explained to them the curing process and showed them the various rooms where the steps involved in that process took place.
I also shared with them the history of the company, how it began in 1926 and still remained a family business. During the time I worked there, it was operated by the third generation. Currently, the fourth generation also plays a major role. The company is well known, not only for its local wholesale and retail business, but also for its far-reaching mail order (internet) sales.
My heart is broken for the family, whom I’ve known since my childhood, my friends who work there, and all the employees who are without jobs right now. Everyone is just so thankful there were no injuries.
Hopefully, the business is able to be rebuilt soon and be greater than ever.
~These Days Of Mine~