Fire destroys Romero Banjos

Pharis and Jason RomeroSad news from British Columbia for fans of J. Romero Banjos and old time musicians Pharis and Jason Romero.

Fire destroyed the instrument shop adjacent to their home in Horsefly, BC located in a remote rural area well away from emergency services. The couple was awakened by the sound of flames coming from the shop just after 3:00 a.m. local time on Sunday, and were able to escape with their two young children before the building and the cabin where they had been sleeping while their home is being renovated were engulfed by the fire.

Not only was Jason’s banjo shop destroyed, so were all the instruments he had recently completed and those in process, plus all the couple’s personal instruments. Beautiful custom banjos were reduced to ashes and warped metal parts when the Romeros visited the shop after firefighters arrived and quelled the flames.

Pharis told the CBC that her husband took a stab at putting out the shop fire with their garden hose, until the flames took out the power lines to their water pump, rendering the hose worthless.

Jason’s banjo are known for their intricate inlay and custom metal engraving, both tedious and time consuming skills that would test the patience of even the most stoic of artisans. Imagine the grief in seeing so many hours of your life wiped away in a moment.

But Jason and Pharis remain upbeat, recognizing that their lives and those of their children were spared in this tragedy. Both their business and their home were fully insured, but they will have many months of paperwork, claims forms, and restoration before their lives can get back to normal.

Pharis posted earlier today on Facebook, thanking friends and fans for their well wishes and offers to help.

“Thank you so so much for all the love folks. It means the world to us. So many thanks to those already offering or sending on tools, building supplies, wood, inlay materials and the big one – time.

We haven’t set up a crowd funding account, as we’re waiting to hear what our insurance will cover. But in the meantime, as we deal with these next months and anticipate rebuilding costs, folks have been sending money to our PayPal account to (via family/friends transfers – no fee), buying digital albums (we have no physical ones left), and sending e-transfers, and we are incredibly grateful.”

I’m sure that new banjo orders would be most welcome as well.

Best wishes to the Romeros as they move forward following this most tragic and fearful event.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.