Acorn arson: update, photos, and how you can help

(When disasters happen at the commune we all have our roles.  My job is using my fast outside world internet and firm grasp of spelling and grammar to help keep people informed.  Any mistakes in this post are still probably Pax’s fault though -Angie)

This is not the suggested method for making fire roasted red peppers

This is not the suggested method for making fire roasted tomatoes or peppers

In times of crisis the communes shine; after deaths, after earthquakes, and now after arson.  For all the disagreements we have on regular days, when the s**t hits the fan we come together.  Here’s a rundown of where we are 48 hours after the blaze, how you can help, and some photographs of the damage. (If you’d like to just see the photos without any commentary, go to the Google folder here.)

Dump Truck 2

I was our new microwave 😦

Damage and repairs:  While there are no structural issues there’s still been significant damage to Heartwood.  The walk-in survived the blaze. The kitchen, dish room and pantry were essentially gutted by the fire, we’ve lost use of a bunch of bedrooms which need significant cleanup, and many community goods and personal items are covered in soot. Currently meals are being made and served in the farmhouse’s kitchen but it is REALLY too small to be comfortable- repairs on Heartwood are going well but more help is always needed.

3x5 board

The 3×5 board

How you can help (financially):  Acorn isn’t looking for donations right now.  The costs of repairs looks like it will be relatively small, around $5000. In the coming days Acorn will be putting together a list of things that have been destroyed that we’d love to find replacements for, so if you’re planning on donating a bunch of stuff to Goodwill tomorrow hold off for a few days.  (If you can’t restrain yourself from giving physical stuff immediately Angie suggests going with the commune classics: coffee, good chocolate, juice, chips, and fruit.)

Hard at work

Jared Acorn taking a break

How you can help (physically): The thing which Acorn needs most now is people who are willing/able to help with cleaning and/or painting.  Many people aren’t able to return to Heartwood to work/live until the smoke damage has repaired.  Repairing smoke damage is a long process, involving dry brushing the damaged areas, then wet washing several times, followed by several coats of primer and paint.  If you’re able to come and help please do, and bring friends. That said, remember that sleeping and eating space at Acorn is at a premium and try to work with local friends to get yourself housed and fed.  If you’d like to help please contact Pax at

Stripping the kitchen before gutting

Stripping the kitchen before gutting

How you can help (mentally and emotionally):  People are exhausted physically and mentally, having someone you lived and worked with try to burn down your home has had a pretty high impact.  Acorn has delayed all membership decisions by a week and is focusing on short term repairs right now.  If you’re a person who sends good vibes or that kind of thing please do so, and more opportunities to provide help and support will be coming soon.

Philip X, who generously lent his RV to Acorn during the repair effort.

Philip X, who generously lent his RV to Acorn during the repair effort.

Appreciations:  Oakers, ex-members, and friends of community have been incredibly generous with their time and resources.  We’re especially appreciative of Philip X, who has lent Acorn his RV to help deal with the space crunch.

Here’s some photos of the damage and the recovery.  They are roughly in order- photos of the damage come before photos of the repair/recovery efforts.

Dish Room

Dish Room

Dishes in the dishroom

Dishes in the dishroom

The less damaged side of Heartwood

The less damaged side of Heartwood

Be Nourished

Be Nourished

Seeds office survived with minor damage

Seeds office survived with minor damage

Porch door, smoke and fire damage

The porch door with smoke and fire damage, the kitchen visible beyond

The Snack Kitchen

The Snack Kitchen

The dish room

The dish room

More trash



11 responses to “Acorn arson: update, photos, and how you can help”

  1. Johnny Sacko says :

    Thanks Angie and Pax. After the first post I didn’t get the impression that the damage was that bad. Now I see it was fairly catastrophic.
    I remember you drastically underestimated the earthquake damage.
    Real world I bet you’re looking at $100k.
    One thing I learned at TO was careful vetting and long probation periods are important.
    I guess there are nonviolent psychiatric people and violent psychiatric people…
    And nobody is 100% anything: sane, insane, gay, straight etc.
    Being cognizant of your “permanent record” as the nuns used to say in Catholic school can have the effect of limiting destructive behavior. Guess Secret Nick will have time to think about that.
    Even if you change your name you still have a recorded history. Big Brother is a member of the family, too.
    Thinking about what I can do from out here- sending Reiki in any case.
    Miss you all and Love you
    Blessings and Fortitude

  2. Tikva Adler says :

    Wow… so happy that the seed office is ok and that no one got hurt…. but WHAT THE FUCK, MAN?? There was some crazy violent stuff that happened in another community recently too. It’s really true that there is no utopia! But we’re still doing better than most other places, in my opinion. Hang in there, everyone. Much love from ex-Oaker Tikva ❤

  3. Tikva Adler says :

    Wow… happy that the seeds office is ok and that no one got hurt… but WHAT THE HELL, MAN?? There was some crazy violent illegal stuff that happened recently at a different community too. I guess it’s really true that there is no utopia anywhere. But I think we’re still doing better than the mainstream-elsewhere-else. Hang in there, everyone. Much love from ex-Oaker Tikva ❤

  4. Alex says :

    Thank you so much for posting an update! I’ve been thinking, worrying, and sending my love from afar. It’s so good to hear some news! I wish that I could do more to help. Love, Alex

  5. Jacqueline @ Acorn says :

    I think the second photo was says, “I was once a toy dumptruck” is our microwave oven.
    We are a bunch of trusting people who are willing to let anyone come and work. Sometimes strange people show up, but most of the time, good people come.

  6. Bev Ingram says :

    I have some household things to donate. Do you need glasses, cups, knives, bathmat, duvet cover? I’m so sorry this has happened in your community. I AM a good vibe sender and am sending good vibes your way!!!

    • paxus says :

      Dearest Bev:

      We do need these things, both because we lost many of them and because we are opening a new branch of the community in a house with none of this stuff. Give me a call at 541-505-0803 and we will arrange for the transfer. Thanks so much for your generosity and the good vibes

      PAxus at Twin Oaks
      17 Arson 2013

  7. Ken Jollofsky says :


    Heartwood was built with essentially, no overhangs, poplar siding (which rots easily), and not great attention to flashing details. It looks from the photos that some of the siding has been damaged/removed. It may be possible, at least in those areas, to put the siding back better than before with some minor sheet metal work to properly flash water away from rather than into the walls. I’d be willing to advise. I’m more knowledgeable about construction now than I was when we were finishing Heartwood. Contact by email if interested.


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