‘Real sinking feeling’: Founder of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders reacts to fire that destroyed business

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LAKE CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Dobson Pipe Organ Builders opened in 1974 and is known around the world for its keyboard instruments. A fire Tuesday afternoon resulted in the total loss of the building, organs, and years of history.

“It was just a real sinking feeling to see it burning like that, and I knew then that it would be a total loss,” said Lynn Dobson, the founder of the business.

Landon Krause, the Assistant Fire Chief in Lake City, said the crew battled that fire overnight.

“We got paged about 4:30 yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon and we battled till about, I’d say 3:30, and we shut down for a while,” said Krause.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“The insurance company is working with it, State Farm, fire marshal has their report to do,” said Krause.

Dobson said the fire took with it irreplaceable documents and history.

“So, there was a lot of correspondence and drawings and all of that kind of material from the planning of the 97 organs that we had built. And so all of those drawings and all that correspondence were destroyed.”

Including a collection dear to his heart.

“I’m somewhat of a photographer as well and so I had really documented the history of the company and every project that we built, while it was in the shop being built and while it was being installed and all of those pictures are gone as well,” said Dobson.

Dobson, however, is grateful for the love they’ve received from the community.

“We’ve had people offer us office space to set up in. There’s some other people who own that they say they’ll move out of so that we can have at least a temporary shop to set up,” said Dobson

“One thing about Lake City, the community is huge. They come out last night, there’s more food, more water, more people willing to help. It’s pretty amazing,” said Krause.

Owner John Panning, who’s currently out of town, said he would like to thank the firefighters and the members of the Lake City community that have rallied around them during this time.

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