Hello Everyone, Many have been wondering whats going on with this Cole Family and
Alaska Specialty Woods Inc.I’m very happy to report that this Cole is still alive.
It was a close call. Here’s the story… Monday afternoon 4/18 I went to “The Wood
Producers task force meeting” to participate with how the Tongass is managed for
timber production. I also had intentions for another meeting on the following day
with another group to also discuss Tongass management issues.Anyway went to bed
about 10PM monday night.At aprox. 1 am Annette woke up and woke me stating, “I think
there the house is on fire!”. We could see the orange glow coming from the living
room/kitchen area coming through the voids above and below the bedroom door. This
was a 1981 14×66 mobile home. Both of us in our skivvies, Annette went to the door,
I went to the window. Annette felt the door, it was cool and she opened it and
crawled on her knees towards the fire to the office. As soon as she cleared the
door, the draft from the raging fire in the middle of the house pulled the bedroom
door closed behind her. This is less than 10 seconds…as I felt the window to open,
she called me, saying she got the office door open. I started that way disoriented
and feeling my way in total darkness I was going at first towards the bathroom, felt
that door and and moved left towards the bedroom exit and finding the door knob. I
Opened it to see the raging fire in the totally engulfed living room and half the
kitchen. The noise was like a loud blast furnace with popping and crackling. The
smell of burning wood, plastic, various fabrics filled the room. Very hot burning
gasses hovered the ceiling, circling down the walls.. I ran the apron 8′ and dove
left falling through the office doorway that was a high 10-11’ step down into the
ASW Office.. Annette pulled me out of the office to the outside back porch.We
quickly moved along the 2’ wide trail outside wall of the burning structure passing
the flames shooting out the broken living room windows to the carport at the front
end of the house./ drove up to the factory and my son, Ryan’s house to call for
help.EMT’s showed up first. My son and Annette were already putting wet washcloths
on my arms and back burns. I was ambulanced to Alicia Roberts medical Clinic in
Klawock, 10 miles away and put out and filled with tubes down my nose and throat. I
remember feeling all of that. I woke up 1.5 days later at Harbor View ICU burn unit
in Seattle. Tubes down my throat and nose remained for about 20 more hours.
Annette filled me in on what was going on, how our daughters started the go fund me
thing. How my boys fired up my log loader and the dump truck and 30-40 neighbors and
friends showed up to clean up the mess of a burned home and stuff. The fundraising
events of a music festival/pie auction and tables at the spring bazaar, and gift
certificates from local merchants. In addition church congregations from as far away
as Chicago, and as near as Juneau, Sitka and other SE Alaska congregations.
Many many times we have been on the giving end to help ease hardships on our
neighbors and friendsThe caring and love demonstrated towards my family and I has
drawn tears to my eyes every day I have been awake since the fire.
This is a Great place to inject a huge thank you to the 102 folks from all over the
world that have reached into their pockets and donated to help us to start our
journey to build new memories, however they are able.
So, I was in ICU of Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle for 3 days, then on the
8th floor which is also a burn treatment unit for another 3 days.We stayed at my
daughters families home for the next 5 days changing wound dressing daily. Friday
4/29, the only and last Dr. visit since release from the hospital. I have a bunch of
new skin.. the Doc said I’m virtually healed, with very little concern for infection
on the 2 areas that were deep 3rd degree burns on my back and hip.Those are small
enough to be dealt with the special sauce and covered with a peal and sick bandage.
The home that Annette kept immaculately clean, organized and comfortable, and ASW
Office was totally destroyed.Also the old ASW dry-room/shipping room that was now
the pantry for 4 housholds. All the canned fish and meats and cases of empty jars
ready for the next harvest to start in about 6 weeks, the food processing equipment,
canners, heavy duty meat grinder, sausage meat mixer, sausage stuffers, heavy duty
vacuum sealers and bags. We were well setup for our semi-sumsistance lifestyle.Lost
our tsunami emergency scoot tote. the camping gear..
The ASW Office was part of our home. The loss of that is really big. The files, the
office equipment.., data and pictures. Videos of projects for the new webpage..
What’s next….We have 650 sq ft upstairs in the factory that was planned for
Office/break-room/conference room.We need to generate Thousands of $’s to purchase
the noise insulation and sealing materials and other to make that area an
office/efficiancy apartment that we will call home for as long as necessary.
We aren’t going to be able to do anything, as in purchase materials, without sales
revenue.My plea now is for all the customers that have purchased our fine products
in the past and present, to come to us again many times for our sitka, cedar and
alder tonewood products. Tell and encourage your friends and colleages about us.We
have got have sales to even stay in biz.We have invested the money and time, setting
up to be the premier custom soundboard producer of Sitka Spruce from this region of
the world. WE have material inventory and a protected log yard to store, a
production/warehouse facility that gives us the ability to produce 1000 guitar tops
per week now. And with a small investment of equipment, could push that production
capability to over 3000 tops per week.The most prominent feather in our hat besides
our Great customer service, is our 100% salvage sourced old growth material. and
forest stewardship, to provide The finest Sitka Spruce in the World.
We have returned to Prince Of Wales Island after 2 weeks absent and healing. The homesite looks nearly as it did 28 years ago with bare ground except for the burnt trees to the west.