WINCHESTER BAY — Residents are coming together to help the owners of an ATV business that was destroyed in a blaze Feb. 27.
According to merchant Kelly Morse, some were meeting March 1 to see how best they could assist. Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been set up.
Winchester Bay Rural Fire Protection District Assistant Fire Chief Terry Flury said the fire took out Oregon Coast Powersports, which was located on the east side of Highway 101. The fire happened Tuesday during rush hour.
He said the cause appears to be accidental.
Matt Depaolo created what's simply called "Resurrect OCP." The website link is the following: https://www.gofundme.com/resurrect-ocp.
The OCP is an abbreviated style for the business name.
According to the link as of March 3, residents and others raised $13,000 toward a $50,000 goal and within one day of the blaze, they'd brought in $11,000.
"Our dear friends Jeff and Roni Schrick just lost their entire livelihood due to a massive fire at their place of business, Oregon Coast Powersports. Those who know them know they are hard working people whose lives revolved around that shop," according to the author statement.
Friends and others posted their words of hope at GoFundMe.
"Hate to see something like this happen to good people," wrote Jeremy Heinks.
"OCP Jeff and Roni are the best and need our help!! With your help they will be back better, stronger and faster than they were before," wrote Paul Giddens.
Among those also attempting to help the couple is Douglas County Commissioner Gary Leif.
"They've done repairs on our bikes for years," Leif said. "Roni and Jeff are awesome."
Thursday Leif visited with the South Coast Economic Development Council, saying "hey Roni and Jeff lost their business," and how SCDC could assist. He was told by Sam Baugh the SCDC that the group would do the best it could. Leif later visited that day with Salmon Harbor Master Paul Stallard, seeing if there was some space the couple could use for their business. Leif took photos at the fire site and then Friday morning visited with Douglas County Parks Director Rocky Houston to help the couple.
Reached by phone the evening of Feb. 28, Flury said personnel from the Lakeside, Reedsport, Gardiner and Siuslaw departments helped Winchester Bay fire crews.
Specifically Lakeside Rural Fire Protection District sent a fire engine. Gardiner fire personnel rushed to the scene with one engine and Winchester Bay also had a fire engine. Flury said Reedsport crews drove an engine as well as another support vehicle, which carries extra air tanks. In the case of the Siuslaw fire responders, they sent an engine as well.
"And then of course we had ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) on scene (to help with) the traffic situation and Reedsport Police Department and the (Douglas County) Sheriff's Office," the assistant fire chief said, adding that this meant essentially Highway 101 was "blocked for hours."
Reached by phone, Reedsport Fire Chief Tom Anderson said dispatchers received the call between 4:30 and 5 p.m.
"And it (the fire) went pretty late," Anderson said, adding that fire crews were mopping up the scene until about midnight. "It was cooking pretty good. It was a big fire. We pulled out the stops on that one."
To compensate, emergency personnel and ODOT staff detoured traffic from Highway 101 through Winchester Bay. Drivers took Salmon Harbor Drive, then headed up Beach Boulevard and then over to Eighth Street he said to get back onto the main highway.
No one was injured or killed in the blaze.
Flury has served on the Winchester Bay Fire Department 34 years "and I've been the assistant chief for probably the last 10." He took a long range perspective.
"We have very few structure fires," he said. "We used to have flue fires all the time."
Now that's changed with more people using pellet stoves. There had been a number of Winchester Bay homes with 1940s and 1950s construction and "you can look into one end of an attic and see from one end of the building to the other side."
"Our last major fire in town was when the Oasis burned down," Assistant Fire Chief Flury said, referring to the business fire.