Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Abandonment Issues: Apsley Fire House
At 3:59 am on December 1st, 2010, Kemp's Shell service station went up in flames. The historic building had stood in the heart of Apsley for over a century and as the only gas station in town, it was a great loss to the small community. All 40 volunteer firefighters from the North Kawartha Fire Department were called in to fight the blaze, as well as back-up from Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield. The gas pumps were buried deep and contained a safety valve that shut off the gas in case of fire, but the real concern was the fact that the service station was full of propane tanks, according to the North Kawartha Fire Chief. Despite the extensive efforts, the building was lost. However, firefighters managed to contain the fire to the service station, preventing it from spreading to the neighbouring homes and businesses, with one exception: The Apsley Antique House. Located behind the gas station, it suffered severe damage from the heat, which melted the blue siding and the shingles atop the roof.
The Apsley Antique House, which operated as an antiques shop on weekends, is visible on the left in the following image.
Both firefighter action shots were found online.
At 11:29 am on May 2nd, 2011, five months and one day after the fire ravaged the building, I approached the site. I was unaware of the history that I just shared with you as I walked up on a construction crew rebuilding the gas station and saw the abandoned house next door, in all its melted glory. I slipped into the Liquor Store and copped a fat bottle of rum, and through the window, I watched. It was obvious right from jump, I had only one option, walk up, spark a conversation and talk my way in. Back pack off, flashlight in pocket, long sleeves over tattoos, hair pulled back, camera around neck, smile on face.Go.
I'm not gonna tell you what any of my white lie lines are to gain access to spots, but I wasted a good one here. They didn't give a shit, each man sending me to the next. "Oh, you'll have to talk to Tom, he's in the trailer." After finally identifying Tom, he said "I don't fucking care, ask Billy, he's out back." I didn't look for Billy, I accepted Tom's apathy as a yes. I exited the trailer, walked back toward the house and nodded to the first couple workers I'd approached as if I'd gotten that approval from Tom, and I walked inside.
a warm welcome
no place for a lady
fire pokin' blues
turn the lights down low
reflecting on the end of time
roger the alien
an ode to procrastinating painters
melted walls and tilted floors
the green party
everything but the kitchen sink
Prince Edward Island is upside down
triple letter score
Apsley Fire House
At 11:39 am on June 12th, 2011, I returned with ninja IX to find that the remaining contents had for the most part, been packed up and moved out. Construction of the gas station was nearing completion, if memory serves, but it usually doesn't.
returning to an empty house
"It's better to burn out than to fade away."
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES