What was happening? Exactly where was the smoke’s origin?
Was someone burning trash? No, the amount of smoke was too great.
Was it a raging forest fire? If so, it was only in an embryonic stage.
Was the smoke the signal of a controlled burn by one of the timber companies? Possibly, but the signs just did not look correct.
As I continued driving, a number of vehicles were assembling in the distance. The closer I got, the more recognizable the cars and trucks became. The wind changed and the smoke pushed its deadly midnight across the highway.
As I got nearer, I saw no flames. Murkiness gushed out the doors and windows of a small framed building. It was erupting in a lethal, black, thickness through the roof.
The Church in the Pines was dying from fire and smoke inhalation.
Jimmie A. Kepler
Note: I wrote this back in 1990. I was driving from Beaumont, Texas to Jasper, Texas. I saw a plume of smoke in the distance. I wrote this later that day.