This is what it looked like on the inside. I’d show you pictures of all my equipment, but I’m just learning how to use this blog, and I can’t get it to show any more without everything getting mixed up. You probably don’t want to see them anyway. It’s not a pretty sight. But if you look in the left center of this picture, you’ll see my slab roller under the charred ladder-like thing, and the pug mill is way in the back on the right next to the window. The kiln and wheel are destroyed, even though the kiln’s insides are probably OK, it’s lost all of its wiring, the computer, the power assist on the lid, etc., etc. It must be pretty clear that I’ve lost the building, too, but the amazing thing is that the fire did not go past the floor. Since my shop is on the second floor, we still have the wood shop underneath and the building around it. We’ve been able to walk on the floor to do the clearing, although there are a few holes you have to watch out for.
We’ve been spending the last few days clearing everything out and taking down the walls. We almost have the dumpster filled, and almost all the walls down. We are so blessed to have good friends who have put on their crud clothes and come out to help. They’re coming back tomorrow, and we’ll probably get everything down. Then we have to put a tarp over the top to keep the weather out of the wood shop below. It got lots of water, so it looks like most of the damage there will be rust and such on the machinery. We’ve got a dehumidifier going 24 hours a day, and there are a couple of spots on the floor that are beginning to dry out.
This is my workshop when it was first built in the fall of 2006. You can see the blue tarp on the deck, and Derek is on a ladder, working up in the rafters. Beautiful views out the windows made it such a pleasure to work in. If you look closely at the roof, you’ll see the rooster weathervane.
Today it looks like this:
The fire was last Wednesday, Dec. 5. Derek noticed an odd black cloud hovering over our workshop about 9 am. When he looked on the first floor (his wood working shop, he realized it was smoke, but there was nothing in there. So he ran up the hill to the second floor (LickHaven Pottery, my workshop) opened the door and was blasted with heat and saw flames. He closed the door and ran down the hill to the house, shouting to me to “Call 911! The pot shop is on fire.” It seemed to take forever for the 911 operator to pick up, and then she had many, many questions, but probably was only a minute or so before she said the firemen were on the way. They were afraid to take the bigger truck across the bridge that leads to our driveway, so they came up in the smaller one. They almost had the fire out when they ran out of water and had to call for a second truck. It probably only took 20 minutes or so for the second truck to come and for them to get a hose down to the pond, but it that time, the fire regathered its resources and was roaring out through the roof with flames that must have been 15 feet high. I regret that I didn’t remember I had a camera until it was almost out. It was an awesome and terrifying sight. I was afraid we would lose our house as well, as it is only about 50 feet from the workshop. By 11:30, the firemen had quelled the flames and sprayed some kind of foam over everything. Before they left, they told us to call them if it began to burn again. They did have to come back, but it was easily put out.
Come one, come all to Winterland Winery, 15 Flat Road, Lopez, PA, for a signing of Gifts of a Dead Man, June 18, 6-9 pm. Wine and Indian food. Probably a good deal of silliness too (at least we hope so).
We are a couple who writes (Derek) and works with clay (Linda). The ancient Chaldeans did both at the same time with cuneiform, but we decided to specialize.
Derek has a book out these days. Call it Midwestern magical realism (he does, when he calls it anything).