Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Ken Sheen had a sleepless night after a fire Friday, April 16. “It’s one step at a time—get the place cleaned up and then start figuring out how we get a shop back in and some more tools,” he said the following day. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Ken Sheen had a sleepless night after a fire Friday, April 16. “It’s one step at a time—get the place cleaned up and then start figuring out how we get a shop back in and some more tools,” he said the following day. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Lester Barkman helped gather members of his Mennonite church to assist Ken and Loraine Sheen with clean-up. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Lester Barkman helped gather members of his Mennonite church to assist Ken and Loraine Sheen with clean-up. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Mennonite members spent the morning of Saturday, April 17 helping Ken and Loraine Sheen clean up from a fire that destroyed Ken’s tools and current artwork. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Mennonite members spent the morning of Saturday, April 17 helping Ken and Loraine Sheen clean up from a fire that destroyed Ken’s tools and current artwork. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Pieces of light equipment were used to remove the burned remains. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Pieces of light equipment were used to remove the burned remains. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Ken Sheen stands by a carving that was for the City of Williams Lake. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Ken Sheen stands by a carving that was for the City of Williams Lake. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
A fire destroyed Ken Sheen’s woodshop at Cariboo Castle located between Williams Lake and Quesnel on Friday, April 16. (Rebecca Dyok photo)A fire destroyed Ken Sheen’s woodshop at Cariboo Castle located between Williams Lake and Quesnel on Friday, April 16. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

A carving destined to overlook the Stampede Grounds in Williams Lake was destroyed in a structure fire Friday, April 16.

The cowboy carving, a replica of the original cow boss statute, was in the works by Ken Sheen and inside his shop at Castle Cariboo Carving Studio between Williams Lake and Quesnel when a fire ripped through the structure Friday afternoon.

Helping clean up the blackened site on Highway 97 north of McLeese Lake Saturday morning were members of the local Mennonite community.

Lester Barkman, who lives two miles up the road, jumped quickly into action to assist his neighbors by calling up other Mennonites.

“I just felt sorry for them,” Barkman said of Ken and Loraine Sheen.

“He [Ken] lost all of his winter’s work in an hour, so that’s the least we can do is help clean it up.”

Before the fire broke out mid-afternoon Friday, April 16, Ken said he had been tidying out sawdust for which he has a burner.

Well SH*%T! Before and after. This beautiful carving was for the City of William's Lake

Posted by Pine river carving on Sunday, April 18, 2021

He left it for a bit to go into their house and check the computer. By the time he went back out, he said it was a ‘big roaring inferno.’

“By the time the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department came it was already fully engulfed,” Ken said.

“It looked like I poured gasoline on my whole place. It went up so fast.”

Loraine, who is with Northern Health in long-term care, was at work when a neighbor called and told her one of their dogs was at his house and that she ought to get home as there was a fire.

The gallery which the fire burned beside was fortunately saved, although it did sustain some slight damage.

Their nearby house was left unscathed from the fire that Ken said burned three buildings and destroyed his winter inventory of carvings he had been working on, including a sculpture that would have replaced his original cow boss statue that used to stand above the Stampede Grounds in Williams Lake.

Read More: Update: Famous Cariboo carver Ken Sheen’s wood shop destroyed by fire

“I have a whole bunch of deposit money that I’m going to have to return to people,” Ken added, noting at least 20 years of tools, some from Germany and the United States, are also gone. One tool alone, he said, was worth $6,000.

A crowd fundraiser as of Sunday, April 18 has raised more than $3,500 for Ken, who said he had let their insurance go as it had gotten too expensive to carry because of wildfires within the area and estimates it could take one year to rebuild.

Both he and Loraine are thankful for the help they received during and after the fire in which no lives were lost.

Their other dog, who ran and hid, was later found safe.

Posted by Robert Kalman on Friday, April 16, 2021

“It was the best of a bad scenario—nobody is hurt, we still have our house and we didn’t burn down the neighborhood,” Loraine said, noting if the fire would have occurred in the middle of the night, things could have been much worse.

The fire was brought under control late Friday afternoon. There was one flareup later that evening which was put out by hoses left by the fire department.

“Life happens,” Loraine said. “It’s where you go from there.”

Sheen’s work has found homes throughout B.C. He was also featured on the show Carver Kings.

No word yet on what started the fire.


 


editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Williams Lake

Just Posted

Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. Toxic illicit drugs have claimed the lives of 498 British Columbians in the first three months of 2021, said the BC Coroners Service. (BCEHS photo)
Increase in overdose cases a concern: Fort St. James RCMP

Police issue public health announcement

Jim Woodruff from the Vanderhoof Curling Club has won volunteer of the year by Curl BC. (Photo submitted)
Jim Woodruff awarded Curl BC Volunteer of the Year

“It really is fun making nice ice.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for Cluculz Lake’s new fire hall will take place Tuesday, June 22. The current fire hall is able to only store one apparatus. (Photo submitted)
New fire hall on the way for Cluculz Lake

Approximate $950,000 facility anticipated to be completed by this fall

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

Then-minister Rich Coleman, escorted by Victoria Police, makes his way to the east wing amid a protest blocking the legislature entrances before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. money laundering inquiry testimony ends today with reappearance of Rich Coleman

Responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, Coleman been recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month

Colin Dowler rests in hospital recuperating from wounds suffered from a grizzly bear attack north of Campbell River. He was able to end the struggle by stabbing the bear in the neck with a knife like the one he is holding. Photo submitted
‘Bad-ass dude that took on a grizzly bear’ doesn’t let 2019 B.C. attack bring him down

Campbell River’s Colin Dowler gets on with his life as his rehabilitation continues

Most Read