Fire destroys family’s livelihood |

Fire destroys family’s livelihood

Scott Neuffer and Kurt Hildebrand
Nevada Appeal News Service

GARDNERVILLE – Billowing clouds of smoke rolled against an overcast sky as flames consumed a 5,000-square-foot workshop off Highway 88 Thursday afternoon.

“It’s a mess,” said property owner Mike Alley, who owns the log house, old barn and workshop on about three acres near the intersection with Dressler Lane. “I just don’t know what to think right now. It depends on how badly everything is damaged.”

Alley estimated there was $200,000 worth of equipment inside the shop where he operates his welding business, A&B Fabrication.

He expressed concern about the water East Fork and Alpine County firefighters were pumping in from a makeshift pool in the highway.

He said he believed the fire started in a wood stove in the workshop.

While firefighters began pulling charred equipment from the smoldering building, neighbors helped round up the family’s spooked horse.

A plume of black smoke first alerted neighbors that the shop was on fire. Multiple 911 calls were made to dispatch shortly after 1:15 p.m. Units from Gardnerville, Minden, Genoa, Sheridan, the Ranchos, Fish Springs, Indian Hills, and Johnson Lane responded. The fire was reported out at about

2:50 p.m.

Thursday afternoon, East Fork Capt. Terry Taylor said the fire was “clearly accidental.” He said the structure had wooden framing and drywall inside and steel panels outside.

“We know the fire started in the area of the wood stove, that was the source of heat, but we haven’t completed our investigation. We don’t know what first ignited,” he said.

Taylor said there was an oil drum and also some sawdust near the stove.

East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini said firefighters were taking the structure apart in order to overhaul the fire.

He said four compartments including an overhead loft full of material required them to take their time as they went through the building.

“We need to go through it in a methodical way so we don’t drop material down below,” he said Thursday afternoon. “It’s very time consuming. We’ll be out here for another couple of hours.”

Carlini said the workshop was within 20 feet of one of the Valley’s historic barns. He said that between the barn and the home, firefighters had to keep the fire contained to the workshop.

“Fortunately, we didn’t have the winds,” he said. “They did a great job protecting the barn. It is one of the Valley’s treasures.”


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