A fire on Woodstock’s west side engulfed and destroyed three buildings on Calamar Lane belonging to guitarist, folk artist Peter Walker. Woodstock fire fighters arrived on the scene at approximately 3:55 a.m. Tuesday, October 23, said Woodstock Fire Chief Kevin Peters.
“The first one was totally engulfed when we got there,” said Peters. “(A tenant) who was living there had a candle burning in the kitchen and got turned over…the first house caught on fire, [Walker’s] house, it got so hot it caught the other two houses approximately 25 feet away.”
Five families were displaced from their residences, as Walker had rented apartments in the two buildings in which he did not live.
Walker, 80, said he woke up to a “wall of fire pouring into the hallway.” He got out, just barely, and tried to run back in for his dog, but he couldn’t see through the thick smoke.
“I’m yelling ‘fire’ and yelling all this time for my dog. I couldn’t see anything,” Walker said.
Several neighbors heard what sounded like explosions during the fire, something Walker attributes to an oxygen tank he had in the house. But he’s lost all of his possessions and his dog, Zorro has not been seen since the fire.
Walker is hoping to sort through the rubble and recover anything he can, including his tools and his mother’s silver collection. “The sequence of events is bizarre,” said Walker Monday night as he was in shock, still trying to retrace what happened in his mind.
“Most of my instruments, my master tapes, my library. Gone,” said Walker, who lost three “priceless” guitars in the blaze.
Walker is staying near Poughkeepsie and his son is flying in from California to help him.
“I’m trying to formulate a plan,” he said. Peter will meet with insurance investigators. A priority, he said, is to get the cottages evaluated for rebuilding and power restored because it was knocked out by the fire.
“There was nothing we could do. It was blowing out the first and second floor windows when we got there…” said Fire Chief Peters. “The neighbor woke up and called 911…it takes ten to 12 minutes to get there. We hit the fire hydrant down the street, tried to put it out. There were probably 100 firemen there from all different companies — Centerville, West Hurley, Olive, Sawkill, Glasco and Ulster Hose in Phoenicia. It was good that they were there…by the time the guys got done with the initial attack, we were pretty spent…There were three fires.” Peters estimated that they used somewhere around 20,000-25,000 gallons of water in fighting the fire. “We were there from about 3:55 a.m. and didn’t leave there until 10:30 a.m. Then they called back said there was a little more smoke, so we went back and took care of it. The town came in with excavator…”
A fourth house on the property sustained no damage, but was without electrical power as of mid-day Tuesday.
Go-fund-me site set up
A go-fund-me website has been set up to help the Kravig family that was displaced in the fire it is at https://www.gofundme.com/woodstock-fire-family-displaced.
Provisions Woodstock, at the Woodstock Golf Club, will begin accepting donations of clean size appropriate clothes, gently used clean linens & bedding, and gift cards on Friday, October 26, for them and for the others displaced in the fire, including Billy Mitchell.
“Anthony and I are trying to do as much as we can,” said Emily Sherry, of Provisions. “We will get a comprehensive list of who needs what and put it together, but gift cards are the best, it allows the recipients some autonomy.”