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Monday, January 6, 2014 - 4:52am

WEIRD MACON: Man Befuddled By 1973 Blizzard Melted Snow With Fire

John Carey, a lawyer in Macon, witnessed a strange sight during the Macon blizzard of 1973.

He was in the National Guard and because his unit had four-wheel drive vehicles, they were providing emergency services during the storm.

With drifts of snow piled as high as two feet, Carey and a driver were coming back into Macon along Houston Avenue from a motor pool on Guy Paine Road.

“The snow had drifted up to almost my chest against our back door,” Carey said. “I’m from Ohio, so I was familiar with snow, but I thought ‘Wow! This is a lot of snow.’”

As the men were driving, Carey watched a man take a stack of newspapers three-feet high to the front of his Houston Avenue home and spread the newspapers out across the driveway.

“It looked like he was squirting lighter fluid on it and trying to light it,” Carey said.

“And, of course, it did light.”

He was trying to melt the snow because “of course, nobody had any snow shovels or knew what to do with it, so we sat there for a couple minutes and watched him,” Carey said.

The wind picked up as Carey and the driver watched.

“There was black soot and sometimes flaming newspapers that flew all over the neighborhood,” he said.

This piece is part of a continuing series called Macon in the Mirror. The project is being produced through a partnership involving Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism, Georgia Public Broadcasting and The Telegraph of Macon.