January 19, 2012 · 14 comments

We got an early morning phone call on Tuesday from Henry’s dad informing us that the shop that he built in 1981 and shared with his wife and business partner for their professional custom woodworking business had burned to the ground. The large building was stocked with 30+ years of accumulated power and hand tools, thousands of board feet of specialty lumber, and boxes of stored family momentos. Most of what burned was irreplaceable.

I get teared up even thinking about.

No one was injured, and the shop was insured (though somewhat underinsured). It could have been worse, but that thought is not much of a comfort. The cause of the blaze is unclear.

Henry’s dad and stepmom, Bill and Joanne, have been part of this community for over thirty years, and they have a slew of friends and connections that have already stepped up to offer whatever help they can. At this point, they’re not sure exactly how to proceed, but rebuilding is definitely in the plans. They were actually already in the early stages of building a second shop/studio, so I think those plans may be modified for their new needs.

From what I can tell, Bill and Joanne seem to be doing as well as can be expected right now. The last two days involved a lot of phone calls to clients and discussions with their insurance company. Henry, his brother, his stepsister, and his grandpa live fairly close by and can pitch in with the legwork of cleanup and be supportive as needed.

In 2005, Bill and Joanne offered me a job, an apprenticeship of sorts, shortly after I graduated college. I worked for them part-time for a year and a half until I was too pregnant to get around comfortably. They taught me everything I know about woodworking, and I learned all those lessons in the shop that’s now a charred pile of rubble.

I’ve already gotten a couple of emails from some of my local contacts offering kind words and warm thoughts. I really appreciate that, but I should stress that I am fine. Bill had been helping me out occasionally with Red Onion Woodworks jobs, and that obviously is no longer possible, but it’s insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

There was an article about the fire in our local newspaper that you can read here if you care to.

*On a totally different note, my wonderful sister in law (my brother’s wife) brought my very first niece into the world last night after a very long and difficult labor. I haven’t seen the baby yet, but I’m sure she is perfect.*

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

June January 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

So sorry to hear, what a loss. Thank goodness there are friends and family to rally around you.


Erin January 19, 2012 at 7:31 am

Oh Camille, I am so very sorry for such an heart aching loss. I can’t even imagine losing all those beautiful boards and tools. I’m so very glad everyone is safe though.
As for happier thoughts, congratulations on your new niece!


Tamara Townsend January 19, 2012 at 7:42 am

Please let us know if there is a fund for them. I would contribute money to help them rebuild. I could not imagine this happening to my fathers wood shop and it’s a way for those of us like me outside of the community to help out.


shellie January 19, 2012 at 7:59 am

Oh my goodness Camille so sorry for the families loss but so thankful that everyone is safe. I hope that they are able to rebuild bigger and better (even though I know a big part of what is loss are the memories and family history).
Congrats on the new little niece and hope you get to meet her soon.



laura flavin January 19, 2012 at 8:00 am

Camille, I am so sorry to read about this huge loss for your family. You sound grateful and optimistic even though it is an unbelievable occurrence. My positive thoughts go out to you & your family, it is so good to hear that they have a big support network and will be able to rebuild. Hugs, Laura


Sherry jones January 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

Camille, I am so very sorry for your loss. So very thankful that no one was injured and will be praying for your family. Blessings to the new baby. sherry


Cassandra January 19, 2012 at 8:34 am

Oh my. I’m so sorry to hear that. I can’t even imagine losing (close to) everything like that. My heart and thoughts are with your family – I’m glad to hear they have a strong circle of support around them. <3


shannon January 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

Oh Camille, my heart breaks for your family! Best of luck as the process of rebuilding begins, not only the shop, but new memories as well. And congratulations on your new niece.


keapdx January 19, 2012 at 9:45 am

So very sorry…. and so glad that everyone is safe. I know it hurts like hell, but everything else is replaceable. May you all find joy and strength in the many gifts that will come your way.


Anna Cools January 19, 2012 at 9:53 am

So sorry to hear about your in-laws. They will be in my thoughts and prayers lots!


Eve Geisler January 19, 2012 at 11:22 am

A sad loss. Glad to hear that the community has rallied. My thoughts are with you and yours.


catie January 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm

i am so sorry, camille.
thank goodness no one was injured.
and thank goodness your kids have a brand new baby cousin.
there will be lots of adjustments going on in your world.
sending peace to you & your loved ones.


abby January 21, 2012 at 10:29 am

Oh my gosh, so sorry to hear this Camille. Hard to even think about. And then flooding! I hope you guys are doing okay with the crazy about of rain we’ve been having.


Renee January 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I just read your post and the news story. Through your posts, I feel like I know your family. Please extend my heartfelt sorrow for their loss and my joy that they are okay. I hope there is some happiness in the rebuilding and that it comes very soon.


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