For retired Auburn firefighter Allen McCord, Jan. 15, 1978, began much like any other Sunday morning shift — except the air was bitterly cold and carried the scent of natural gas.
McCord made his usual trek up South College Street before taking a right on East Magnolia Avenue and checking the sign at Central Bank on the corner.
"The bank thermometer there said 25 degrees. And it got up to like 27 degrees that day," he recalls. "When I came through the intersection there at Gay Street and Mag, I could smell a little natural gas."