Northwest NEWS

July 20, 1998

Local News

Fire that destroyed artist's workshop ruled accidental


Andrew Walgamott/staff photo

A large metal bull being sculpted survived a fire which destroyed Woodinville artist Gary Vig's workshop.

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--An intense fire fed by welding supplies destroyed most of a Woodinville artist's workshop last Tuesday night but spared a sculpture he'd been working on.
   A large, van-sized metal bull just outside a 93-year-old barn between Woodinville and Redmond went untouched except for a burned wooden panel which leaned against the figure's head after the disastrous blaze.
   The sculptor, Gary Vig, has created other similar works that can be seen in nearby pastures.
   Still, the fire caused an estimated $300,000 to $320,000 in losses to the old barn and Vig's tools and equipment. The 150-foot by 50-foot barn was totaled, Sherrie Vig said.
   The structure's metal roof was deformed from the heat, and support beams were badly burnt. Vig said it will have to be demolished.
   The fire began sometime before 9:30 p.m. when Vig called 9-1-1 after an off-duty Redmond police officer alerted them to the fire.
   With welding gases feeding the fire, Cliff Griffin, Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District battalion chief, said arriving crews found the structure fully involved with flames leaping 100-feet in the air.
   "It was roaring, it was rip-roaring," Griffin said. He reported that a police officer said he could see the glow from the fire in Seattle.
   Redmond and Kirkland fire units were called in to help bring the blaze under control.
   King County Fire Marshall Fire Investigator John Gibson said the fire began near a wood stove in the southwestern corner of the barn.
   "It was a shop so there were combustibles in there [like] acetylene and gasoline, as well as paper and lumber," King County Fire Marshall Fire Investigator John Gibson said. He said it started from combustibles stored too close to a wood-burning stove in the southwestern corner of the shop, and termed it accidental.
   Vig praised the fire crew's work.
   "They were great ... They kept the fire contained to one structure," she said.
   Another barn and a home stand within 30 yards of the burned building which was erected in 1905.
   "We lost a piece of history," Griffin said.