(Ripley, TN) “You spend a lot of years in a place and you hate to see it go up on smoke.”
Tuesday morning Margaret Colvin watched from her front door as the 115,000 square foot plastics reprocessing plant burned.
Colvin remembers when the “Master Casual Wear Company made pants at the facility.
She spent 25 years with the manufacturer and so did a lot of other folks, “Goodness it employed a lot of people. And when I first started I helped make pants pockets. And then I went to quality control.”
Colvin says Tuesday’s fire is another big blow to Ripley’s economy, “Everything on the south side of Ripley, that employed so many people, all that’s gone.”
Allied’s workforce has decreased from as many as 25 to only eight.
“It’s devastating to me” said co-owner Will Douglas who plans to rebuild somewhere to help provide jobs for the money community. “My dad was mayor here for 12 years and we love this community. And like I say it devastates me that right now people are out of work. But we’ll do something.”
Patricia Stapinski lives a half mile from the fire.
She’s been watching all day and her prayers are with those who are now out of work. “It’s worse right here at Christmas time, you know. When people are struggling to make ends meet and take care of their families. It’s really a tragedy.”