Ken Soderbeck "Hand-in-Hand" Restoration Shop Fire

We regret to inform of a late-night fire that destroyed Ken Soderbeck's Jackson MI fire apparatus restoration shop. (see the full UPDATED news report below) ....

As the firefighter saying goes, "When the ladder pipe goes up, the building comes down" -- apparently at one point three aerials were pouring water into the blaze at Ken's shop. The building is a total loss, as is much of Ken's collection. The first floor upholstery room floor collapsed into the basement (onto of two steamers Ken was working on). There are friends "responding" from across the country, and work has begun to sort though the ashes and determine what is salvageable.

.... I'm trying to clear my calender to travel to Jackson to offer my assistance, and will post more details as I hear of them.
Ken Soderbeck's Fire - Hand-in-Hand Needs a Helping Hand!

As you know -- In the early morning hours of April 14, 2010 Ken Soderbeck’s famed “Hand-in-Hand” Fire Apparatus Restoration Shop in Jackson Michigan was heavily damaged by fire. Ken and Aggie are doing remarkably well. The shock is beginning to wear off, and the hard task of cleaning and rebuilding has begun. This is truly the worst nightmare for anyone to imagine, and the master fire apparatus restorer/preservationist could use our support! A special fund has been established to help Ken get back in business, and a website has been created to accept donations online and provide periodic updates.

Please help post/repost this information to the firefighting community.

Sent by, the “Friends of Ken and Aggie Soderbeck”
Ted's Firehouse Pub will be hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Ken Soderbeck on Friday, April 23, from 3 to 11pm. See their website for maps and directions.

Ken and Aggie are still doing remarkably well, though the enormity of the task ahead, and the long days are beginning to wear on everyone. Work on setting up the new (temporary) shop is almost complete, and a crew has been cleaning and polishing the soot and grim off the two steamers and hose reels in preparation for the crowd this weekend. Another crew has been working on cleaning and drying all of the papers and photographs -- everything from family snapshots, to vintage glass-plate negatives, to scrapbooks with Jackson fire history, to books and magazines. Amazingly many things are cleaning up fairly well but it is a very time-consuming task, and sadly much has been lost.

Everyone is asking, "what can I do to help?" . . . . When making a supply-run to the hardware store I asked if anyone needed anything else. Matt Lee answered, "Sure! Ken could use twenty pounds of twenties!" The truest things are sometimes said in jest. This is going to be a long-term recovery, and as crass as it might sound -- the best way to help is to "send money." See the "Hand-in-Hand needs a Hand" website for details on how you might contribute towards the rebuilding of Ken's business.

See ya this weekend!

- David -
David Lewis
No - alas I haven't spoken with Ken in a while so I don't have any more news.... If (when) I do, I'll post it here and keep everyone updated.

- David -