UP IN SMOKE?
Early this morning, the Bottles Unlimited liquor store in New Albany was destroyed by fire. "Bottles," as it was often called, was located on Elm Street at the intersection with State. The location is just a couple of blocks from my office, and I have stopped in there on a number of occasions over the years. Fortunately, it appears that no one was injured in the fire.
One thing that invariably struck me about Bottles was that the workers in there were always smoking cigarettes. Always. There were typically three or four people working at a time, and it was rare to see any one of them without a dangling cigarette ablaze. Customers also regularly puffed away while standing in line. The result was an omnipresent cloud of thick, stinky smoke.
I noticed all of this because it bothered me. In fact, I had all but sworn the place off because going in there, even for just a few minutes, tended to give me a headache. The pervasive cigarette smoke was nasty and overwhelming. It was always a shame, I thought, because Bottles was in an ideal location for serving downtown New Albany. I know others who were as disgusted by the smoke stench as I was.
And now, Bottles is no more. It will be interesting to see if it reopens. Reportedly, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. Given my experience with the place, I have to wonder if careless smoking could have been responsible for starting the blaze. Of course, this is nothing but mere speculation on my part, but such a finding wouldn't be at all surprising to me. Whatever the case turns out to be, I am thankful that there were no casualties. I also hope that the owners of Bottles were fully insured.