Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Abandonment Issues: Apsley Fire House

apsleyfire1

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.

apsleyfire2
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.

Apsley Shell Rebuild

Apsley Fire House

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
MORE INSIDE

no place for a lady
no place for a lady

the sauce
the sauce

fire pokin' blues
fire pokers

turn the lights down low
turn the lights down low

reflecting on the end of time
reflecting on the end of time

slinky
slinky

raggedy man
raggedy man

roger the alien
roger the alien

an ode to procrastinating painters
an ode to procrastinating painters

melted walls and tilted floors
melted walls and tilted 
floors

inside out
inside out / upstairs

bottle dreams
bottle dreams

Fuck Coke
Fuck Coke

sugar water
Pepsi

toy story2
toy story 2

toy story
toy story

officer down
officer down

Tung Lashor
Tung Lashor

the green party
the green party

everything but the kitchen sink
everything but the kitchen sink

alcoholics synonymous
alcoholics synonymous

monkey's kiss
MONKEY'S KISS

Prince Edward Island is upside down
Prince Edward Island

triple letter score
triple letter score

high light
high light

Apsley Fire House
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
returning to an empty house

empty bottles
empty bottles

newfound emptiness
newfound emptiness

melty melty
melty melty

"It's better to burn out than to fade away."
-Neil Young

click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES

5 comments:

Jenny said...

Thanks for sharing this. Unreal. Love your captions to the photos, especially "an ode to procrastinating painters." The toys freak me out though. Glad the kid didn't get hurt in this fire.

WW

Cameraman said...

I enjoyed this. Good writing, good photos. Good Jermalism.

jerm IX said...

Thanks Jenny.

Byron Cameraman, I miss you dearly my friend.

Santa Is Drowning said...

you do such an awesome job at writing your explorations out. This blog is has some pretty cool stuff...I love how you captured the former belongings, excellent shots

phreak_666 said...

I lived in Apsley for almost 17 years, and I remember my parents telling me about this fire. My family is also close with the family that owns the gas station. Well done.