By Brittany Anderson and CJ Vetter
KYLE — Unchartered Adventures, a local rage room business, is looking to rally some community support after a devastating fire on May 11 destroyed most of the inventory stored in the back lot.
“The fire started next door, and the wind blew some embers onto our side,” said Damon Fogley, Unchartered Adventures owner, saying that the flames were initially part of a controlled trash burn. “And then practically all of our inventory back here got torched out … the inventory we need to sustain our business.”
Unchartered Adventures started off as a rage room, a place for participants to smash a variety of items in a safely-controlled environment. The business has since expanded to include activities like ax throwing, a splatter paint room, two escape rooms and airsoft gun shooting.
Although Fogley said they are lucky the fire didn’t make it into the building, he estimates that they still sustained around $60,000 to $70,000 in damages, not including the cost it will take to clean up. Items like printers, keyboards, computer monitors, TV screens and around six pallets of glassware used in the rage room were lost, as well as a trailer used to haul equipment around, vehicles used for car smashes and all of the content inside the shipping container that housed an airsoft target shooting range.
Unchartered Adventures employees helped fight the fire for as long as they could on their own — a video from their security camera shows them using a fire hose and fire extinguisher to try and subdue the flames — but flammable items like cardboard boxes, wood and metal caused the fire to spread rapidly and beyond their control against the 20 mph winds.
Fogley said one of his main frustrations and concerns is it took 21 minutes from the initial 911 call for emergency crews to arrive at the scene.
Although the business is located in east Kyle, it is within Travis County’s emergency service district (ESD 11). When calls in this area are placed, they are transferred from Hays County Dispatch to Travis County Dispatch, who then notified Travis County Fire Rescue (TCFR).
On the day of the fire, after TCFR was notified by Travis County Dispatch, they notified Hays County Dispatch again, who then notified the Kyle Fire Department for further assistance.
According to Fogley, they spotted the fire at 11:23 a.m. and called 911 three minutes later after trying to put the fire out themselves. Once crews arrived, water was being put on the fire at 11:47 a.m. At one point, a total of 10 apparatus were on scene from TCFR, Austin Fire Department and Kyle Fire Department.
According to the incident detail report from TCFR, they received the call about the fire at 11:28 a.m. The first unit was assigned and en-route a minute later, and arrived on scene at 11:40 a.m. The Kyle Fire Department and Austin Fire Department also arrived on scene to assist. Crews closer to Unchartered Adventures were out working a fire in Bastrop at the time.
“The fire district is aware of the deficiencies of response time in this area,” TCFR Chief Ken Bailey told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch. “We are actively working towards building a fire station to cover the Uhland area, which would include where this fire was.”
Although the business has taken a substantial hit, Fogley and his business remains resilient. The day after the fire, it was back open and honored the bookings scheduled for that day. Fogley also said they have good relationships with their vendors, who have been sympathetic and supportive of the situation.
Two ways the community can best support Unchartered Adventures, Fogley said, is by making a booking or donating items that can be used to help replenish the inventory they lost. Items like glass bottles, old electronics and wooden furniture are accepted and can either be dropped off at the business, or they will come pick up the items from Kyle/Buda area residents at no charge.
Bookings can be made online at www.uncharteredadventures.com.
For more info, including what items are needed and will be accepted, call (512) 537-3113.