The warehouses were completely engulfed in flames, and the firefighters were losing the battle. The men and women attacked the fire, spurting water through the windows of the blazing buildings until the smoke and the heat overwhelmed them. Even when they could fight no longer they called for milk in hopes of fortifying themselves for another round, But it was too late. Two large warehouses with irreplaceable stocks of tobacco were lost.
Veritable bunkers, the two structures had seemed impregnable until Hurricane lrene raged to within 70 miles of Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic, stirring Winds that fed the flames. Even as the blaze leapt toward the sky, rains lashed the scene, almost in irony. Inside was a treasure trove, tobacco that was years and even decades old, leaves from around the world that had been destined to he rolled into celebratory smokes for its owner, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.