Tragedy as important organ-building workshop is engulfed in flames

16 June 2021, 15:10 | Updated: 16 June 2021, 15:39

Flames consume building of historic organ builders in Iowa

By Kyle Macdonald

Footage shows a huge fire consuming the workshop of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders in Lake City, in the US state of Iowa.

The workshop of one of America’s most revered organ-makers when up in flames yesterday, with one worker suffering burns.

Firefighters said the blaze in Lake City, Iowa was sparked at approximately 4pm by a malfunctioning fan, which had caused sawdust to ignite.

According to local news reports, the fire then engulfed both the shed and the organ builders’ main building.

Dobson Pipe Organ Builders fire
Dobson Pipe Organ Builders fire. Picture: Nathanial Brown Productions

There is not, as yet, an indication of the instruments or specialist equipment lost in the blaze.

Shortly after the fire was brought under control Dobson Pipe Organ Builders posted about the tragedy on their Facebook page.

“One of our coworkers was burned when he discovered and attempted to put out the fire, but he is expected to make a full recovery. We are thankful there was no more serious injury,” they said.

Firefighters in Iowa work to put out flames on building of historic organ builders

The company thanked the organ community for all the expressions of sympathy and support they have received.

Dobson Pipe Organ Builders specialises in organ building and restoration of old instruments.

Dobson Pipe Organ Builders fire, Lake City, Iowa
Dobson Pipe Organ Builders fire, Lake City, Iowa. Picture: Nathanial Brown Productions

The company was founded by Lynn Alan Dobson in 1974. Organs built include a mammoth 6,019-pipe instrument in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles (pictured below), that of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, and the organ of Merton College, Oxford.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. Picture: Getty