Greg Stacy said he wasnt apprehensive about returning to work this morning, but he can't help but wondering what-if.
His brother, Dennis, was the only person in the Stacy Plumbing Supply office at 2909 S. Wilkeson St. when a series of blasts Saturday at Atlas Castings & Technology across the street sent a mushroom cloud of fire skyward and injured four people.
It was business as usual on Monday, but Stacy admitted to thinking often about the propane tank visible from his office window.
They just put that one over there, and Im eyeing it and, well, you never know, Greg Stacy said.
The start of the business week found employees and owners of businesses neighboring Atlas at 3021 S. Wilkeson St. mostly accepting the explosions as a freak accident and considering what might have happened.
For the Stacy family and the plumbing-supply wholesale business they own and operate, the line between accident and major disaster for his company was far too thin.
A 30-foot metal pole Stacy figures its from the top of the chain-link fence near the propane tanks was still smoldering when it was blown from Atlas and landed on a pallet of boxes containing couplings. It burned some of the boxes and surrounding pallets before his brother doused it with a fire extinguisher.
If the path had been slightly different from perhaps an extra gust of wind or a different amount of propane in the explosion the outcome could have been far different.
If it had landed on the roof, well, Im sure the warehouse wouldve been gone, he said.
Jennifer Cajucom, the owner of Manila Center Diner at 1607 Center St., said she was driving on Interstate 5 when she saw the fireball rising from the general area of her restaurant. Her employees and a customer left a bit rattled but unharmed, but she wasnt allowed to check on the status of her building. When she returned, she discovered large breaks in her front window and now shes trying to figure out who is responsible to fix it.
Cameron Hedayat, the owner of Auto Care & Repair at 1717 South Tacoma Way, said he and two others were in the building across the street from Atlas and got a close-up view of the explosions. Several windows inside the building were cracked from the concussion.
He said he was scared to remain at his building Saturday, but those fears have faded.
It seems like they have everything under control now, he said, so Im really not too worried.
Betty Schwingler, who works at Rosen Supply Co., was the only employee in the building at 2920 Chandler St. when the first blast went off and knocked out the power. Without electricity, most of the building was completely dark. She made it outside and was watching the fire when the largest explosion happened.
She said 45 to 50 people would normally be in the building if it were a weekday. The warehouses roof was lifted several inches by the blast, and there was damage to insulation and the lights.
Schwingler called watching the mushroom cloud the scariest thing Ive ever seen.
My orthopedist said Id never run again, said Schwingler, who had hip-replacement surgery. Believe me, I ran.