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Harley dealer will rebuild after Almeda fire

Was D&S Harley-Davidson able to get anything out before the Almeda fire, such as new bikes or customer bikes? Did they have time to get anything at all?

— via email

According to Kim O’Toole, one of five family members who own the Phoenix motorcycle dealership, nothing survived the fire.

“We lost everything,” O’Toole said.

O’Toole declined to say how many bikes were lost while fire and insurance investigations are pending, but she said there was no time to get anything out of the business before the Almeda fire struck Sept. 8. The fire was so extensive that the building collapsed on itself.

“It burned to the ground,” O’Toole said. “There’s nothing.”

In addition to bikes, O’Toole said, the fire destroyed 49 years of “one-of-a-kind” Harley-Davidson collectibles that her family had gathered, ranging from cookie jars to train sets.

O’Toole called the loss “heartwrenching,” because the business has been in her family since 1970, when her father Dick Martin bought the dealership. It was where she grew up, where her kids were raised and where her daughter got married.

“It wasn’t just a building to us, it was home,” O’Toole said.

Despite the loss, O’Toole said, no one in the family lost their homes in the fire — although one family member had a close call when the fire reached their yard — and the family is thankful for the efforts of first-responders.

“We’re all safe and healthy, and we just feel blessed for that,” O’Toole said.

The business is looking for a temporary site where they can operate while they rebuild — and O’Toole said they “absolutely” will rebuild. The family has already begun discussions with their insurance company and Harley-Davidson.

They’re hoping to be up and running “soon” in a temporary location, potentially in time for the business to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The challenge, according to O’Toole, is finding a building that checks multiple boxes. It needs to be zoned commercial and industrial, have the right amount of square footage, and — most importantly — meet Harley-Davidson’s standards.

The business phone isn’t working yet, but people seeking to reach them can text 541-535-5515 or contact them through their website, dsharley.com.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.