Acetylene torch sparks fire at Forks business

  • Thu Oct 22nd, 2020 10:57am
  • News

Saw shop materials inside contribute to intensity of blaze

By Paul Gottlieb

Olympic Peninsula News Group

A fire that sent flames 20 feet into the air and destroyed the Rusty Gate nursery-saw shop was caused by an acetylene torch, Forks Fire Chief Bill Paul said Thursday.

The equipment was being used to cut cast iron bolts off of a lawn ornament at Rusty Gate Nursery & Building Supply, 221 Wood St., said Paul, of Clallam County Fire District 1.

“They walked out of the building, came back, and saw the smoke and used a 5-pound fire extinguisher to knock it down, but it reignited,” Paul said.

“It’s a total loss.”

The blaze was reported at 3:39 p.m. Tuesday.

Paul, who lives less than a mile away from the store, formerly Moody’s Nursery, said he arrived within minutes to flames shooting 20 feet in the air.

The flames grew quickly because it was a saw shop, Paul said.

“That’s why it went up so fast, there was such a huge fuel load inside,” he said.

The fire was under control within 10-15 minutes.

“Within 30 or 35 minutes, we were in mop-up,” Paul said.

The property is valued at $72,040 and is owned by Andrea Perkins and Michael Peppers of Beaver, according to the County Assessor’s Office.

Two Fire District 1 engines responded along with 13 District 1 firefighters, and two Fire District 6 personnel who were in Forks, saw smoke and went to help put out the blaze.

Additional from the Forks Forum: Andrea and Mike shared with the Forks Forum last week that they were waiting for an insurance adjuster and plan on rebuilding. The Peppers had recently done many upgrades to the gift area.

In a Facebook post, they shared the following “We want to extend a big thank you to this wonderful community for the outpouring of support we have already received.

We wouldn’t be here without all of your business and we want to let you know that we will rebuild. We are not going anywhere and will bounce back as quickly as possible. We will be available for contractors to pick up their supplies as our metal and lumber yard were not harmed.

Thank you again, you are all appreciated!”

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]