DEDHAM, Maine — Teresa and Jim England, who make wooden items in their spare time and sell them, were at the Made in Maine expo in Bangor on Saturday when they learned their hobby shop in Dedham was on fire.
Jim England had stepped out of the show at Spectacular Events to grab lunch at the nearby McDonald’s when he got the call his two-story Mill Road garage and woodshop was on fire.
“I gave Teresa her filet of fish and went home to see what was burning,” he said on Monday.
When her husband turned onto their road, he could see the black smoke, said Teresa, a physical education teacher at Brewer Community School who sells her wares under The Woodshaper Shop name.
“There were a lot of firemen here putting the hoses to it,” said Jim England, who has been making and selling wooden items, including children’s toys and benches, since 1998.
When firefighters arrived at 1:45 p.m., heavy smoke and flames were showing through the roof, Dedham Fire Chief Craig Shane said Monday.
Dedham firefighters were assisted by crews from Eddington, Holden, Lucerne and Orrington with about two dozen fighting the blaze, he said. No injuries were reported.
The hobby shop had a recording studio that he used “years ago when I did audio recording for Stephen King” that also had an area for his wife’s photos and scrapbooking, and her tree bending crafts, Jim England said.
“Irreplaceable stuff” was lost, he said. “That’s tough.”
The entire upstairs was pretty much destroyed, and the downstairs, where the woodshop was located, sustained some fire damage and had heavy water and smoke damage, the fire chief said.
The good news is that “about 75 percent of the tools and equipment should be salvageable,” Shane said.
Jim England sent his wife a cellphone picture of the fire on Saturday, but she refused to look at it.
“I want to see it for myself,” she said as the expo ended and she packed up her husband’s wooden benches and her bent wood garden trellises. “I have my wood-bending tool with me, so that’s good.”
“I’m glad I didn’t look,” Teresa England said Monday by phone during a break between classes. “I’m also thankful I have little ones running all around me.”
Her gym teacher job has really helped to keep her mind off the damage at her home, she said.
The couple each said health issues last fall with Jim England and the loss of a 32-year-old horse last summer has given them a different outlook on life.
“We both have a much firmer perspective of what’s important,” he said. “It’s a setback but … you just deal with stuff and move on.”
The fire was caused by an electrical problem that started in a wall in the kitchen, according to Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
He said firefighters did an amazing job stopping the blaze from overtaking an attached horse barn, and from spreading to other structures on the property.
“On the other side of the structure was a barn and the loft had 30 or 40 bales still in it,” Jim England said. “Boy, they saved that barn. It’s unbelievable we didn’t lose anything else.”