Thursday, 18 April 2013


There seems to be fire everywhere this morning.
In addition to the horrifying scenes from Texas (and my God, wasn't that footage of the fertiliser plant exploding both horrifying and yet just a little bit awe-inspiring...) there's also been a fire at a paper mill not too far away from where I am this morning (obviously, my exact location needs to be kept a closely guarded secret, for national security reasons).

Smurfits is a paper mill that I've been to in one of my previous working incarnations - I remember it fondly because we were treated to what can only be described as a full cooked breakfast...on a bun. If memory serves me correctly, it was two sausages (maybe three), two rashers of thick bacon (maybe three), two fried eggs (maybe eight), mushrooms (which I didn't have because they are the carbuncles of Beelzebub) and probably even some black pudding, hash browns and anything else you can think of, all with lashings of tomato ketchup, served on a bread bun about the size of a dinner plate! There was clearly an art to eating it without ending up with egg-yolk and ketchup in your crotch that I did not possess.

And now some of it is on fire...though it does appear to be the paper store and not the mill itself, thankfully.
It will take some putting out, that's for sure. I once saw a similar fire at Hollins Paper Mill when I was in my late teens and the poor firemen who were hosing down the smoking bales had to keep going from one end to the other because no sooner had they damped down one area than another would spark into fiery life again. Those of us watching (yes, we were supposed to be working at the time, but it was the 80s and that's how British industry was then) found it both amusing and fascinating - there was even time for some betting to take place on where the fire would re-ignite next. I think it took them about eight hours to finally extinguish the smouldering embers - we had all gone home by then (because that was also how British industry worked...or didn't).

But seriously - I hope that the fire at Smurfits doesn't impact on the jobs of the people who work there - it's hard enough for paper mills to survive in Britain without fate and nature conspiring against them as well.
I also hope that the feared death toll from the Texas explosion is significantly less than seems to be initially feared...better still if there is no death toll at all.