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.*