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Building 7 Burns

In August 2006, demolition of the Waynesboro Outlet Village was well underway.  Some buildings had been demolished by conventional means, and some were burned to the ground by the Waynesboro Fire Department for firefighter training.  On August 12, 2006, Building 7, the former home of Borg-Warner Staffing, where I was hired for my first job as a directory assistance operator for CFW Information Services down the street, was torched by the fire department for a training exercise.

Since this was very much an on-the-fly photo shoot, I didn’t have Big Mavica with me, and thus I took all of these photos with my cell phone.


Before getting into the actual burning of the building, though, let me show you a few “before” photos of Building 7 via an excerpt from the Waynesboro Outlet Village set in Photography, made seven months earlier:

Building 7 was blue-gray in appearance, with typical styling.  One non-traditional tenant to occupy a space in this building was Borg-Warner Services, which was a staffing firm that provided employees for CFW Information Services, which had its office further down Shenandoah Village Drive.  Building 7 was blue-gray in appearance, with typical styling.  One non-traditional tenant to occupy a space in this building was Borg-Warner Services, which was a staffing firm that provided employees for CFW Information Services, which had its office further down Shenandoah Village Drive.

Building 7 was blue-gray in appearance, with typical styling.  One non-traditional tenant to occupy a space in this building was Borg-Warner Services, which was a staffing firm that provided employees for CFW Information Services, which had its office further down Shenandoah Village Drive.

Building 7 was blue-gray in appearance, with typical styling.  One non-traditional tenant to occupy a space in this building was Borg-Warner Services, which was a staffing firm that provided employees for CFW Information Services, which had its office further down Shenandoah Village Drive.  Building 7 was blue-gray in appearance, with typical styling.  One non-traditional tenant to occupy a space in this building was Borg-Warner Services, which was a staffing firm that provided employees for CFW Information Services, which had its office further down Shenandoah Village Drive.


7F, the former Borg-Warner office, is now empty and devoid of life.  The only indication of this space's use as an office is a small mailbox on the right wall.

7F, the former Borg-Warner office, is now empty and devoid of life.  The only indication of this space’s use as an office is a small mailbox on the right wall.

By August 12, three nearby buildings had already been burned for training purposes.  This would be the fourth building to be demolished by fire.  I discovered this particular training exercise in progress while I was heading back home from the Blue Ridge Parkway, where I sometimes go to kind of chill out after work.  I had a wonderful time.  I hung out for a while in the Sable at the Rockfish Valley Parking Overlook, went over to the Humpback Rocks visitors center, and then headed back.  Coming back down on Interstate 64, I saw a plume of smoke:

Heavy smoke visible from Interstate 64
(This photo is actually a bit further down from where I first spotted the smoke, but you get the idea.)

With my still being well up on the mountain, and with the smoke appearing to originate from somewhere on the mountain, my first thought was that it might be a forest fire, or perhaps the Iris Inn or another building in the nearby Chinquapin neighborhood was on fire.  As I got closer to Exit 94, it dawned on me – the fire was coming from the Outlet Village, and another training exercise was underway.

So I went and checked it out.


From US 340 at the turn onto Shenandoah Village Drive, the smoke was quite visible.

From US 340 at the turn onto Shenandoah Village Drive, the smoke was quite visible.


I parked the Sable on the side of Shenandoah Village Drive, just east of the Outlet Village.  There were a lot of people nearby.  I commented at the time that this is the most visitors that the Outlet Village has had in a very long time, and that if they wanted people to visit, they should have torched a few buildings a long time ago.  I was a safe distance away from Building 7, but you could certainly feel the heat coming from that very hot fire, and I was amazed by the amount of smoke coming from this exercise.


When I arrived, Building 7 was already fully involved:

In this photo, the roof had collapsed in several sections, though not in all sections.

In this photo, the roof had collapsed in several sections, though not in all sections.


Here, the cupola had not yet fallen, but it was close, as the roof to one side of it was already gone, and the cupola itself was on fire.

Here, the cupola had not yet fallen, but it was close, as the roof to one side of it was already gone, and the cupola itself was on fire.


The smoke coming off the building was dark and thick.

The smoke coming off the building was dark and thick.


The cupola soon fell, and fire began to engulf the last section of roof still in place.  The round light spot high in the middle right of the smoke in the lower photo is the sun.  The smoke completely blocks the sun in the upper photo.

The cupola soon fell, and fire began to engulf the last section of roof still in place.  The round light spot high in the middle right of the smoke in the lower photo is the sun.  The smoke completely blocks the sun in the upper photo.

The cupola soon fell, and fire began to engulf the last section of roof still in place.  The round light spot high in the middle right of the smoke in the lower photo is the sun.  The smoke completely blocks the sun in the upper photo.


With the roof mostly gone, the fire started to burn through the walls.  My comment at this time was that I was glad the Outlet Village never had a significant fire during its operational life, as it burned very quickly, and quite thoroughly.

With the roof mostly gone, the fire started to burn through the walls.  My comment at this time was that I was glad the Outlet Village never had a significant fire during its operational life, as it burned very quickly, and quite thoroughly.


With the roof completely gone, the structural integrity of the walls was being compromised as the fire slowly destroyed them.  With the roof completely gone, the structural integrity of the walls was being compromised as the fire slowly destroyed them.

With the roof completely gone, the structural integrity of the walls was being compromised as the fire slowly destroyed them.


Next to Building 7, a ladder truck was parked, spraying water towards the building.  Unfortunately, I am unsure of the exact nature of the fire training exercise that was going on at the time.

Next to Building 7, a ladder truck was parked, spraying water towards the building.  Unfortunately, I am unsure of the exact nature of the fire training exercise that was going on at the time.

Next to Building 7, a ladder truck was parked, spraying water towards the building.  Unfortunately, I am unsure of the exact nature of the fire training exercise that was going on at the time.


Next door were the remains of Building 5, which had burned to the ground a few days before.

Next door were the remains of Building 5, which had burned to the ground a few days before.


With a little help from firefighters, the severely weakened and already-leaning walls soon collapsed, leaving only a few pieces still standing.

With a little help from firefighters, the severely weakened and already-leaning walls soon collapsed, leaving only a few pieces still standing.


The large concrete fire block walls stood unscathed, meaning that they did exactly what they were intended to do, keeping a fire that is burning in one unit from spreading to the remainder of the building.  By the end of this exercise, they were the only things still standing.

The large concrete fire block walls stood unscathed, meaning that they did exactly what they were intended to do, keeping a fire that is burning in one unit from spreading to the remainder of the building.  By the end of this exercise, they were the only things still standing.

The large concrete fire block walls stood unscathed, meaning that they did exactly what they were intended to do, keeping a fire that is burning in one unit from spreading to the remainder of the building.  By the end of this exercise, they were the only things still standing.


By the end, it was a little bit of flame, and a whole lot of smoke.

By the end, it was a little bit of flame, and a whole lot of smoke.


After this, I returned to the Sable and took a quick drive around the property to check on the progress of the demolition.  Building 14 (interior here) was tagged with spray paint, saying “DO NOT DEMO” in big letters.  My guess is that 14 may be used for a future training exercise.


The result of some of the conventional demolition on the other side of the complex is definitely striking.  Compare for a moment – the “before” photo set, to now:

The center area had two access points - one between Buildings 11 and 13 (seen at left), and one further around, between Buildings 15 and 16.  Access between what was once Buildings 11 and 13 (now demolished).


I was also amazed to discover the full extent of the Outlet Village's identity crisis.  This sign, branding the Outlet Village as "Shenandoah Outlet Village", is one that I'd missed during my original photo set back in January.  Back then, I had photographed signs showing "Waynesboro Outlet Village" and "Waynesboro Village".  This, however, is ridiculous...

I was also amazed to discover the full extent of the Outlet Village’s identity crisis.  This sign, branding the Outlet Village as “Shenandoah Outlet Village”, is one that I’d missed during my original photo set back in January.  Back then, I had photographed signs showing “Waynesboro Outlet Village” and “Waynesboro Village“.  This, however, is ridiculous…


As you can see, the Outlet Village is definitely on its way out.  I remember it in its heyday, but now its days are very much numbered.

As you can see, the Outlet Village is definitely on its way out.  I remember it in its heyday, but now its days are very much numbered.

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