Devastated by Fire

The WA Johns’ Boat Shed is in flames on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at the Deltaville Maritime Museum

Flames shoot from the roof of the Deltaville Maritime Museum

Firefighters from 5 local fire departments work to put out the blaze.

Please go to the website for the Southside Sentinel for additional information:

Tragically on the night of Wednesday, July 18, the main building and boat pavilion of the Deltaville Maritime Museum were destroyed by fire. All of the boats pierside, the Boatshop, and Billz Bistro were undamaged.

The fire was thought to have started in the WA Johns’ Boat Shed of unknown causes, possibly electrical, and spread to the main exhibit building when the roof collapsed. The museum building is completely devastated, as is the boat pavilion which contained the WA Johns log canoe and several other historic small boats. That afternoon museum volunteers and 8 families from all over were in the final stages of building Wright’s Skiffs during family boatbuilding week.The pavilion had been tidied and tools put away in preparation for the next two days of contruction, when neighbors reported flames.The families’ boats were also a total loss, changing what was soon to be a joyful celebration into devastation.


In the museum, there was slightly better news. (All is point of view, isn’t it?) While the building is totally destroyed, the firefighters were able to save a bunch of stuff from the office, including file cabinets, and some models and pictures and artifacts–we’ll see how much. Some items near the floor were protected by the wet insulation that fell from the ceiling. However, all the exhibits were destroyed. The museum building is a total loss. We are glad that some of the contents was saved. Luckily, many original photos, including those of the F.D. Crockett, were stored off-site. Volunteers have been rescuing boatbuilding tools and other items that were tucked away. Anyone want a fire sale tee-shirt?

We were glad to see that amazingly the painting of  the late friend and board member  John Coe that hung in the John A. Coe Memorial Library was pretty much untouched, as was a painting and model of his steel schooner “Mistress Quickly.” His library, however, did not fair so well, but hopefully we have preserved the archives which his endowment is helping to develop.
Everyone is devastated, but everyone is determined. While at  this point we are all still in shock,  offers of assistance have been pouring in, and we are immensely grateful and overwhelmed.  With your help we’ll be better than ever.

To support the Deltaville Maritime Museum’s rebuilding efforts after the tragic fire, please consider becoming a Member of the Museum or, if you prefer, you may make a general donation to the Museum.  Check the Museum’s website for information.  Mail donations to:  Deltaville Maritime Museum, P. O. Box  466, Deltaville, VA 23043.

Sentinel Website can be accessed at:

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3 Responses to Devastated by Fire

  1. Anna Pomaska says:

    Thank you for such a complete & clear report of the tragedy… yours & the community’s spirit of determination will be the phoenix rising from the ashes..

  2. Dick Doyle says:

    My wife Patti and I will leave Reedville this am to Deltaville to find out what the Boat Shop guys from the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum can do to help and support.

    Dick Doyle

  3. Don Kenefick says:

    As Dick Doyle says: I am a member of the Reedville Museum and I’d be willing to go to Deltaville to do what I can to help.

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