On July 21 at around 7PM, the building containing FCW was totally destroyed by fire. Apparently it started in a rear corner, then spread up the back side before spreading forward and destroying FCW. In addition to us, there were several businesses, a couple of warehouses, a few residential apartments, and over two hundred storage units in the building. Fortunately, at this time, it appears that nobody was injured.
However, FCW is down for a while. The early consensus of the board is that we will rebuild and like the Phoenix “rise from the ashes”. Exact details will be worked out over the next few weeks. In the meantime, donations of money and equipment will be accepted (Remember that FCW is a 501(c)( 3) non-profit organization.
All classes and workshops are canceled for the near future as we clean up, salvage anything possible and look for a new home.
UPDATE: It appears that at least one piece of equipment survived. Our R5 Ham Radio Antenna remains proudly perched on its beam. Now if we only still had a radio….
The current estimate is that we will be able to survey the damage on Tuesday.
A Members Meeting discussed the rebuilding of FCW today. Here are a few key points.
- FCW will rebuild – eventually having more interest areas than before.
- Top priority is finding a new space – this one should require little renovation for us to start using.
- Scheduled events (hamfest, makerfaires. etc.) will be attended as planned, but with a smaller display focused toward the rebuild.
- Classes will be delayed for about a month, then start being scheduled again, depending on resources.
- The Common area (lounge), Woodworking, Electronics, and the Ham Station will come on line first.
- The Railroad will be rebuilt (HO gage) but will be used also for classes to instill interest in trains and making.
- Equipment priorities after a space is found are the computers and laser cutter. Woodworking, electronics, science, and stagecraft (art) will be built up as resources permit.
- Everyone should be in “scrounge mode”, look out for possible locations, watch for possible deals or donations, and spread the word that FCW is far from dead.
- There is a slight chance that some of the equipment can be salvaged/repaired. Ben will bring a drone down this week to see if we can get a better look.
- A Slack group is being set up for those who would like to be involved, have ideas, or just want information. Members will be invited automatically. Others should email email@example.com
- I’ll try to get some pictures specific to our damage on Tuesday.
Here are some additional pictures
The Old Shuford Mills Building Fire (07-21-2017)…
And a drone flyover.
Drone flyover aftermath https://youtu.be/cOyEDbRDpbE
More recent drone flyover: Zooming up, you can see both laser cutters, the shelving supports in the fab lab and StM (computer museum), the mill and lathe in the machine shop, part of the large bandsaw in the woodshop, both fume hoods, the large oven, the autoclave and a metal cart in the science lab, and a light in the stagecraft area. https://youtu.be/0aHt01O719k
Additional drone footage (I can’t post it yet) allowed us to id a cabinet, computer rack, and A/C compressor in the fab lab; the welder, 18″ planer, suction, and a tool box in the cave;, the transformer and instructors desk the classroom; and a power supply and the Pace rework station in the common area. Nothing can be salvaged.
Meetings have resumed on Saturdays and Wednesdays. We have a lead on a temporary space until we can find a building, and multiple leads on replacement equipment.
At the 2017 Field Day, a brief tour was done of FCW. This is the last known video before the fire. The mics being used failed during the interview portion so there is voice over description. This video was done by Gary Pearce of Ham Radio Now on Youtube. Do realize that we had be up over 24 hours for Field Day at the time.
Here is the current picture of the FCW entrance.