When Disaster Strikes

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich 2 Comments

Last night shortly after closing time at the gallery my phone “blew up.”  I don’t mean it literally exploded.  Rather the notification sounds kept going off.  I was getting a slew of text messages from friends.

Are you at the studio?

Are you downtown?

There’s a fire downtown.

Whiskey Row is burning

The last one was my favorite of course, as it was the one that put my heart in my throat.  To my good friend who sent that text (you know who you are), way to give an old man a heart attack!

Pretty quickly I found out what was going on.  There was indeed a pretty large fire which hit the BBQ restaurant, The Bird Cage Saloon, and the Prescott Market.  For each of those businesses it was a total loss.  Looking at the damage this morning I really have to wonder if the city won’t just knock the building down.

The gallery and studio is about 1/4 block away from the fire.  The Prescott Fire Dept was on the spot, and had a ton of engines out.  Apparently it was a tough fight for them, flames going through the roof, the whole 9 yards.  There’s a ton of video out there on the net of the fire, and you’ll see it was pretty bad.

Not stressing out because you’re prepared

As the texts and phone calls poured in for an hour it struck me I wasn’t too stressed out about the situation.  Only one item popped to my mind that disturbed me.  See, the gallery is insured, my photography business is insured, and my gear is insured.  Heck, I’m even insured (health insurance that is).  As I thought about heading into town or not heading into town only 1 item prompted me to think about trying to race into the gallery.

The Drobo.

See, my Drobo rocks, is a RAID backup system, and contains all of my images and my client images.  My images were of no concern, as I have secondary copies at home with me.  The client images were the concern.  Almost 4 years of imaging and printing for clients leaves me with a very full Drobo.  Sure each client gets a disk with their images, but still.  I didn’t want to lose client files.

Now over the years I’ve backed up my client’s works. But in the past few months I haven’t had a drive large enough to fit all the client files.  I’ll be fixing that this week, making sure I have an off site copy of their work with me.

Disaster ready means you sleep better at night

Beyond the client file worry, I had no other worries.  The printers, the computers, the lights and stands.  I’m insured.  The camera gear comes home with me 9 times out of 10, and last night we were on one of the Niners.  All cameras were home with me.

Additionally, even with insurance I’ve done something additional.  I’ve photographed each piece of equipment and serial number on it a long time ago.  I keep an “insurance inventory” disk at home.  Actually, I’ve done that since I traveled with the Airstream in 2006.  Just in case, you know?  And heck, I’m a photographer.  Why wouldn’t I photograph my gear, even if it is a mundane task?

The Row will be different for a while

Coming in this morning I found police tape blocking the alley way.  Parked the truck in the garage and walked over to the gallery.  I then headed out to see the damage for myself, and was greeted by police tape affixed to our gallery.

I found fellow business owners on the Row just watching the scene.  Ron Evans (owner of Mountain Spirit Gallery) couldn’t go into his shop yet.  He was lucky though, no damage just smoke.  Other store owners fared worse.  Water and smoke damage for some, total loss for others.

We’ll now be missing 3 fixtures on Whiskey Row, and I do wonder if they’ll rebuild or walk away.  Just wait and see I suppose.

Suffice it to say, we got very lucky.  Things could have gone worse and more of the Row could have burned.  The Prescott Fire Department did a great job!

To my photographer readers…..

Be ready my friends.  You never know when disaster can strike.  Have you inventoried your gear?  Is it insured?  If you’re in business, is your business insured?  If you said no to any of these items I don’t know how you sleep at night.  Seriously, it takes very little time and money to protect yourselves.

And for myself and most of the other business owners on the Row, we’ll be back to normal tomorrow.  Of course, the Row won’t be the same for a while……….


P.S.  To all of you who have e-mailed, called, Facebooked, texted, and gotten in touch in any of the other dozen communication formats at your disposal…..  Thanks for your well wishes and concern!  We’re fine, and moving forward.  Your contacts are very appreciated to be sure!


Comments 2

  1. Just wondering if your equipment was protected from the smoke and dust. Also, all the art objects and pictures in the gallery.

    I had a fire in my house a long time ago, and lots of smoke damage, and melted plastic, of all things.

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