I was a long ways away when the fire started, but while teaching a safety class, in the middle of the fire prevention part of the class, I received a video of what was happening just about 5 miles from my house.
The huge building that used to be home to Bethlehem Steel, along Route 5, was burning down.
I received a couple of calls from some of the construction guys in the area.
"What do you think is in that dark cloud of smoke?" One guy asked.
"Heaven knows," I said. "They buried everything on that property for a lot of years.
In fact, a few years ago I was driving on the property with an environmental protection agent. We passed by what looked like a body of water.
But it was the brightest blue that you've ever seen.
It was actually beautiful.
"That isn't water," the EPA guy said before I could even say a word. "But a few years ago, I was driving back here and I saw a kid, about ten years old, on a raft in the middle of the pond. The kid's Mom and Dad were sitting on beach chairs at the edge."
"Are you freaking kidding me?"
"Best part was that the old man yelled out 'I'm surprised no one else knows about this beach!'"
I laughed again.
"Six Flags came by and did an environmental study years ago...they were thinking of doing an amusement park here. They said it would cost a billion dollars to fix the place."
So what was in the air?
Yet the burning building on Route 5 was a little sad as well.
Millions of people made their wages there and fed their kids and raised their family.
My father-in-law worked there for years and years.
"Did you really just use the land out there as a chemical dump?" I asked him one time.
"We didn't know any better," He said.
We do now.
We have regulated some of the pollution out of our skies.
Will we continue to do that?
Is it even possible to bring the manufacturing jobs back?
Don't know...seems like the end of an era, for sure.
"It's gonna' look real weird there," I said.
"Real weird," Kathy agreed.
She had spent about 15 years working in that building.
Everything eventually crumbles.
Onward and upward.
Maybe they'll put a roller coaster and a pond there!
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