Port Renfrew artisan loses house, tools in fire

With no tools Bruce Carlson cannot make a living; fire destroyed home Aug. 24

Bruce Carlson, a Pacheedaht First Nation artist and lifelong Port Renfrew resident, found himself and his family in a very tough spot after his house burned down – with everything in it – a couple of weeks ago.

Carlson carved totems, masks, as well as other aboriginal works out of wood, which he sold abroad. He also served as the local community’s tow service, being the only one with a tow truck and proper equipment in the small community.

That won’t be the case any longer, as all of his carving tools, as well as the pieces he was working on, burned beyond repair in the fire. And while his truck, which was parked next to the house, had a cracked windshield and minor body damage, two compressors were destroyed.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

“Now he’s got nothing – no tools to work with and no one to tow and help with his truck,” said Ardina Jones, Pacheedaht health director.

Just days after the fire, which took place in the early hours of Aug. 23, significant relief efforts were made on behalf of the T’Sou-ke First Nation, delivering clothes and other small items.

Much remains to be done, however, as the rebuilding and recovery process for Carlson and his family has barely begun. Jones noted one of the family members suffered burns on his back and his wrist while he was leaving the house. He received treatment from a paramedic.

In an effort to help the trauma-stricken family back on its feet and aid Carlson in making a living again, Jones is asking for anyone willing to donate any of the tools he lost in the fire, such as a carving knife, adzes, chainsaw, bandsaw, plainer, generator and sandpaper.

For info on how you can help or donate, please contact Ardina Jones at: 250-647-5521, ext. 213.

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