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Three decades into ashes

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Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:00 am

TILLAMOOK - After an early Saturday morning blaze, all that remains of The Guide Shop, a popular restaurant and angling shop on the Wilson River Highway, is a lot of char, some melted kitchenware and a small porch with a blackened American flag flapping freely in the wind.

"Hopefully that's an indicator of good things (to come)," co-owner Marilyn Peterson said, not sounding very hopeful.

The fire began in the middle of the building, helping fire officials to rule out arson, but the cause is still under investigation, she said.

Marilyn Peterson's husband, Charles "Pete" Peterson started The Guide Shop when he converted his house on the Wilson River canyon into a fishing shop in the late-1970s.

Ever since the couple married in 1986, they have worked side by side and raised their children working in what had become a full-service restaurant, guide service and tackle shop popular with fishermen and non-fishermen alike.

"It's just absolutely devastating," Marilyn Peterson said. "I just felt like it's one of our members of our family."

"I don't know what we're going to do," she said.

The blaze began about an hour after the last employees left and Pete Peterson took a final look around Friday at 11 p.m., said Marilyn Peterson. She and the fire department got a call from her alarm service at about 12:30 a.m. that a fire was in progress.

According to the Tillamook Fire Marshal, the two-alarm fire had already fully engulfed the second story and flames were shooting through the roof by the time crews got there.

With help from the Bay City and Netarts fire department crews, Tillamook Fire volunteers contained the fire with two engines, two tenders and ladder truck, but the conflagration claimed nearly everything but the basement and even much of its contents were ruined from the heat and smoke.

With fishing season starting soon, The Guide Shop was fully stocked, Marilyn Peterson said, and insurance is only expected to cover about half of the damage.

Donations may be made to the "Tillamook Guide Shop Fire Fund" at any Wells Fargo branch.

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