Wade Delco’s full-time job these days is recovering from a Nov. 14 fire that destroyed his business, Wamic Auto Parts, one of only two businesses in town. He is rebuilding but doesn’t know when he’ll reopen.
The fire, which started about 9 p.m., caused a total loss. The fire is listed by the Oregon Fire Marshal as starting from accidental causes. Delco said he couldn’t give details beyond that.
He got a notification from his alarm company that the alarm was going off, and two minutes later he got a call from the Wamic Volunteer Fire department letting him know his building was on fire.
He said the alarm system is sensitive and the motion detector was likely set off by the flicker of fire.
He got there in 10 minutes, and by then it was already burning out of control.
While his insured business was a total loss, firefighters were able to save his vacant rental house and another shop of his that were on either side of the auto parts building. One was just six feet away and the other was 10 feet away, Delco said.
“I’d like to make sure that the volunteer fire department gets a lot of credit for saving these two structures. They did a really good job,” Delco said.
Responders also came from the Pine Hollow, Pine Grove, Tygh Valley and Dufur volunteer fire departments, he said.
Community members also came out and tried to help, he said. “A lot of people offered to help but just can’t help, but it’s nice that they offered.”
Delco, who grew up in Tygh Valley and graduated from Wasco County Union High School in Maupin in 1995, bought the business five years ago. He does automotive repair and also sells parts, tires and propane. He has two full-time employees.
A contractor is doing cleanup now, and he has no timeframe for rebuilding, though he expects the timeframe will be made longer because of the holidays.
Two years ago his business was burgled, he said.
But even with the fire, he is grateful that it was only material things that were lost. “Everybody’s safe. That’s the main thing: nobody got hurt.”
He said, “We’re all good. It’s just going to take time to rebuild is all.”
His aunt, Shirley Ringlbauer, set up a fund for him at Columbia Bank. The account number is 1102836296 and the name of the account is Wamic Auto Parts.