Temple pottery business damaged in fire

  • Donna Rollins cleans up the debris from the fire, planning to re-pour a concrete slab to place her kilns to re-start her pottery business after a fire on Wednesday morning.  —Courtesy photo

  • Debris is left over from a fire on Twillingate Road. —Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, June 14, 2018 5:57PM

A fire at Healing Touch Pottery on 28 Twillingate Road in Temple Wednesday destroyed the outdoor area where the kilns were kept and has temporarily put the business on hold.

The kilns were located outside the residence shared by Paul Mowatt and Healing Touch Pottery owner Donna Rollins. 

Rollins had the kilns firing pottery overnight when something malfunctioned in the early morning hours, Temple Fire Chief George Clark said Thursday.

A fire sparked around 1 a.m. on Wednesday and spread from the kilns to a pop-up tent, which Rollins was using as a cover for the outdoor kilns. Then the fire spread to a nearby stack of cord wood and a tree.

Mowatt attempted to put out the fire with a bucket and water collected in a nearby canoe. Fire crews arrived and quickly doused the blase, Clark said, in about a quarter of an hour.

It’s an unfortunate circumstance in a string of unfortunate circumstances, said Rollins’ daughter, Shelly Dos Santos.

Rollins had only recently moved her business to Temple, after needing to scale it back after separating from her husband and business partner.

“She had to re-start more or less where she had begun, in the basement of a house,” said Dos Santos on Thursday. “It’s been a long, uphill battle for her.”

Rollins has always been fire conscious, Dos Santos said. Her three kilns were located on a concrete pad and the awning that covered them was flame-retardant, she said. It’s a common occurrence for the kilns to be loaded during the day and fire pottery overnight, said Dos Santos.

“Somehow, something sparked, and everything just ignited,” Dos Santos said.

The kilns themselves, which are made of brick, survived the fire, but will need new electrical paneling. Rollins is hoping to be able to rebuild with a cinderblock structure, instead of another awning, in order to reduce the risk of another fire.

Dos Santos has created a GoFundMe.com page to raise the $10,000 needed for all the repairs. Donations that have come in so far have allowed Mowatt and Rollins to replace the fuse panel to get their electricity back on as well as to rent a tractor to clear the debris from the fire.

“Donna is really bad at asking for help,” Dos Santos said. “It’s probably been 10 years since she asked for help from anyone.”

Rollins has even promised a free Healing Touch mug to those who offer a donation of $30 or more.

“That way, it’s more of a hand up, than a hand out,” Dos Santos said. 

The hope is to quickly repair at least one of the kilns in order to get Healing Touch back on track, she said. Right now, Rollins is limited to selling her current inventory. 

“She’s persevering through it with a smile on her face and hoping for a better turn around,” Dos Santos said. 

Donations to Healing Touch Pottery can be made online at https://www.gofundme.com/healing-touch-pottery-fire.


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.