Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fund aims to help Royal Enfield dealer KRW

I just got off the phone with Tom Bapaille, a member of the family whose Royal Enfield dealership, KRW Cycles, was destroyed by fire Sept. 5.

"Now I see why people like these guys," I told my wife. "What a nice guy he is."

"There's the lead to your story," she replied: "Now I see why people like these guys."

KRW Cycles had been in their building in Phillipsburg, Ohio, for 42 years. It was a tough cement building, "like a bunker," Tom Bapaille said.

With the economy what it is, they decided to take a chance and go without insurance.

But the fire department reportedly had trouble with the hoses, and the intense fire melted steel supports, bringing down the roof. Destruction was total.

"Have you been able to rescue anything from the fire?" I asked.

"Ahhh," Tom replied, "every time I turn a corner, I break into tears."

Among the losses was a Royal Enfield Tom's son Kirk was building with an eye on a run at Bonneville.

"He's quite an engine builder, Kirk is, so naturally it had all the best stuff in it," Tom said. "And there were all the special tools Kirk made, pictures at races..."

Like his brother Tony, who talked to me earlier, Tom was surprised by the support they are getting from customers, friends, neighbors "and people we'd never met, people all across the country."

In video of the fire, two men sadly embrace and then walk away. It's terrifically sad.

Will KRW rebuild? Maybe, if the authorities approve use of the existing site and floor, Tom said. "It's in their hands now."

There is a fund to help out. I reached Anne Roesch at Fifth Third Bank in Dayton, Ohio, who confirmed it.

Make your check out to KRW Cycles, put the word "Donation" in the memo line, and mail it to:

Fifth Third Bank
1 S. Main Street
Drop 332911
Dayton, Ohio 45402
Attention: Anne Roesch

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