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Location DB > United States > Texas > Dallas > The Wiener Factory > A DEA Saga

Story Info
Thu, Feb 22nd, 2007
posted by Explorer Zero
A DEA Saga

Its funny how time flies. And how it changes things. One night Noah Vale and I were out exploring industrial Dallas. I wanted to check out a large factory in the area that was being demolished but when we got there we found the site had already been leveled and nothing but mud and Caterpillar tracks remained.

Just a couple months before I had driven right up inside that giant industrial complex just snooping around. Workers were still onsite removing machinery and materials. Time being the constant force of change that it is, when they decided to knock the place down I guess they didnt want to waste any of it. Time is money too.

As we drove around the next corner with NV on the Q-Beam, (2 million candlepower spotlight), an old brick building loomed large and dark capturing our attention and imagination. Six feet of chain link and razor wire separated it from the street where we coasted to a halt and doused all the lights. There were security cameras, halide lights, armored trucks and A BROKEN OUT FRONT DOOR!

How could this be? An armored truck compound with a breech big enough for a hobo (or urban explorer) to crawl through. We immediately began searching the fence line for access but soon realized there was no fence at all on the back side, just some big steel doors and windows that appeared all but impenetrable. There was another building inside the fence much newer and more active and secure looking. Long story short we blew it off and went looking for easier pickings that night. But we vowed to keep an eye on it.

More time passed, weeks maybe a month or more I dont recall but I was in the same area again one night. I fired up the Q-Beam as I drove down the wrong side of the street. I was driving a plain Jane Crown Vic and nobody paid any attention even at that early hour by DEA standards. It was 9:00PM and clearly some things had changed. One, the door was now boarded up. Two, only one armored vehicle, a van was left. And three there were lights on inside one end of the building now.

I blew it off again, I mean after all this was some serious shit right? They keep lots of money in places like this lots of money so its bound to be plenty hot. We talked about it once or twice sharing the location only amongst our small group, The Dallas Explorers Association. After even more time, I had pretty much forgotten about it. But our networking was about to pay off.

Early one beautiful crisp morning in February, trapped inside my house with visiting guests and nothing on the radar to save me, I tossed the camera bag in the car and shoved a flashlight in my pocket. I called team mate Barry Kooda. I figured for sure he would be up and about. I caught him working on a project in the garage but he said "heck yeah" lets go find something to do. When I rolled up at his place about 30 minutes later there in the garage sat another DEA team mate, coffinnail, he had just showed up too and he had news!

"Hey man you remember that old place with the armored cars you and NV told me about? Well its all but abandoned now and I found a nice little zipper in the side fence!" With no further discussion we loaded up and drove uptown a ways while c-nail reported on his latest scouting trip. As we turned up a busy boulevard he spotted a construction hard hat laying in the road. A quick U-turn and Barry riding shotgun scooped it up and handed it back to c-nail. "Cool its all beat up and nasty too" he said, "adds to the credibility of the prop".

Now it was pretty clear this was going to be a piece of cake deal but you cant beat the added confidence of a guy in a tan canvas work jacket, Oakley sunglasses and a hard hat leading the way. Hell we just walked in like we owned the place. A Mexican construction crew across the street barely looked up from their labors as three gringo "hefes" came a strollin around the compound big as day. Even the run-of-the mill pedestrians and passing motorists gave us barely a glance. I followed "boss man coffinnail" in through his pre-scouted access point and started gettin my gear ready. Then I heard this loud whisper:

Shiiiiit! I turned to see Barry licking what looked like massive arterial bleeding off his hand. He found a grab hold spot guarded by a hidden shard of plate glass as he climbed in. "No problem" says coffinnail, "we got a box full of sanitary napkins right here behind us". (apparently stored there for 30+ years to supply the employees restroom). After we determined Barry wouldnt require a medevac we proceed to fan out and explore every nook and cranny of the old meat plant. It turns out this was a former meat processing plant, a wiener factory! We couldnt go from one room to the next without someone exclaiming: "hey come look at this!" or: "wow, what the Hell is that?". In no time we had discovered all sorts of weirdness left by the previous occupants. Locker rooms complete with campaign bumper stickers from the 1960s, crudely fashioned manufacturing contraptions and heating and cooling apparatus even empty cans of ham? And cooper! Copper pipes, big 3" diameter copper pipes and wiring every strand still intact. We had actually beat the local copper thieves into a prime abandonment for once!

A couple hours passed. You know how time flies when your havin fun. We were preparing to leave as Barry stood back appraising the front he asked: "hey did we get into that part of the building yet?" I couldnt answer him, some parts of the building had been walled off. In bird dog fashion Barry plunged into what appeared to be an impossible entry way just about the time a guy walking a real dog appeared around the corner looking right at me.

I might as well have been standing there naked. My heart jumped up in my throat as the thought of a K9 patrol flashed hot through my mind. I realized after one very long second it was just a guy in a blue jacket walkin a big shepard mix. Whew! With my heart beating again, I tried to act non-chalant and draw attention away from the newly opened and now gaping entrance. Then my cell phone goes off and its coffinail and in his lowest most sinister half whisper voice says: "we found the basement we are heading down!" I hopped on in and closed the drawbridge behind me. I had already stowed my tripod and big flash so I just grab the camera and take off.

The basement was enormous. And warm. It was a cool day up topside the insulated construction was doing exactly what it had been designed to do 70 years ago, keep the cold in. But down here the warm dankness was preserved by that same insulation and underground heat giving rise to an explorer's happy sense of euphoria, mildew. You can smell it. You can even navigate by it. More than once Ive been in a building exploring when someone would say: "hey guys basements this way I can smell it"

And there before us lay this vast and completely dark expanse of moldy goodness. There was junk down here older than me or Barry! A post office scale from 1954. Obscure machinery parts. Old uniforms. Furniture. Bottles of unopened wine! 70 years worth of crap covered by a light frosting of mildewed and crumbling cork insulation. We had reached explorers Nirvana.


UPDATE: Sad to see it go. This was too much fun.

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