Employees and long-time visitors react to Sand Dunes fire

By Madison Glassman

Tue Sep 11 19:26:43 PDT 2018


FLORENCE, Ore. -- Charred “open” signs filled the windows and a burnt smell filled the air after a fire destroyed a building at Sand Dunes Frontier in Florence Tuesday morning.

A manager of Sand Dunes Frontier said an early morning post on social media about the fire turned her life around.

She said ever since she found out about the fire through that post, she’s been distraught.

She’s been with Sand Dunes for about 19 years and said she spends more time at the business than she does at her home.

Colt Muray, a mechanic at ATV Rentals, a business that does work with Sand Dunes, said an early morning phone call from a co-worker alerted him to the fire.

Muray said it was tough to see his co-workers so heartbroken.

”Well nobody wants to see the workplace they work for with people down there crying, I mean come on," Muray said. "It’s pretty sad for them. It’s definitely going to kill off a bunch of tourists for a minute over here. I mean, hopefully, they come back strong, get their building back up, and get it back up and functioning a little bit better than it was.”

Muray said hopefully the owner of the Sand Dunes can get the building back up and running for next season.

Chris Smith, a Eugene man doing restoration work with Belfor Property Restoration at Sand Dunes, said the place means so much more than just a day’s work.

Smith said growing up he would visit often to ride.

He said 16 years of fond memories riding in the sand are now in ashes.

“You know, it’s not something you think of a place you go to 'cause you want to come back and remember it as it was,” Smith said. “It’s different seeing a place you're used to seeing standing ...in a pile ... a pile of ash.”

He said it means a lot to him to be a part of getting Sand Dunes back to its former glory.

An employee told KEZI 9 News that the owner will be in town on Wednesday to assess the damage.

Employees said they have insurance and do plan to rebuild.