Big Bear owner cites a near total loss, says he’ll rebuild

Big Bear owner cites a near total loss, says he’ll rebuild

Big Bear Hunting and Firearms, located at 401 Putnam Pike, in Harmony, suffered fire damage after an electrical fire slowly progressed through the ceiling of the building Jan. 27 at night. (BREEZE PHOTOS BY JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD)

GLOCESTER – Will Worthy, owner of Big Bear Hunting and Firearms, is reporting that the damage from a Jan. 27 fire at his store caused a near total loss.

The Valley Breeze & Observer reported last week that guns and ammunition at Big Bear Hunting and Firearms, 401 Putnam Pike, were left undamaged, but Worthy said that information provided by local fire officials was inaccurate.

All of the guns were heavily damaged, and all of the ammunition in the store went off, he said. With temperatures reaching more than 1,000 degrees, he said the bullets will explode but without being forced in a direction, they would burst “like popcorn.” Merchandise in the shop was charred and melted, and casings from exploded bullets could be found littered across the floor.

Harmony Fire Chief Richard Waterman explained Tuesday that after taking a closer look at buildings, initial damage estimates are frequently wrong. He said water, fire, smoke and heat damage often aren’t discovered until a structure is thoroughly inspected.

Worthy said the majority of the building, which he owns, will need to be demolished and rebuilt.

“The initial shock has worn off, now I’m in rebuild mode,” he said.

He said he feels the love from the community, and people have called offering help, food, computers and solace in the days following the fire. He said Scituate Lumber Yard is helping with the wood needed for the rebuild.

Worthy said the fire departments that came and helped put out the fire did an excellent job, and he was grateful for the efforts.

Temporary headquarters for Big Bear are next door to Harmony Kitchen at 401 Putnam Pike, Worthy said.

Customers with equipment on consignment can reach Worthy at bigbearfireupdate@gmail.com, or visit the shop by appointment only.

“It’s a process, and we need people to be patient at this time,” he said, adding that he is still waiting for word from ATF before moving forward.

Big Bear Hunting and Firearms has posted this message to customers asking them to be patient while the shop deals with the near total loss due to the Jan. 27 fire.