Just before 10 pm last night fire took out the old barn at Lattin’s Cider Mill & Farm, damaging surrounding structures and trees.
The cider mill, farm stand and bakery were not damaged but a large greenhouse made of rigid plastic panels now has ember-burned holes in its roof and the entry wall is warped from the heat of the fire that burned some 25 feet away. The embers are said to have come from branches of a fir tree that stands the greenhouse.
Several fire districts participated in fighting the fire, including those from as far away as Yelm.
“If it hadn’t been raining we would have lost everything,” according to Carolyn Lattin, 88, who co-founded the farm with her late husband, Victor, in January 1956.
No people were injured but seven chickens were lost in the fire. “We lucked out that there were only seven chickens in the barn,” said Debbie Lattin, who manages the farm with her mother, Carolyn. “They were there because their pen had gotten flooded out the day before, with the heavy rains,” she added.
“We just have no ideas about how this could have happened. There were no heat lamps in there, there were no extension cords or anything like that. We can’t figure out the reason,” Debbie Lattin said. She explained that the barn’s metal siding contained the fire inside the building until the roof collapsed. After that, nearby trees were “smoking, and ready, the trees were starting to flame. But with the rain coming down so hard, they would flame up and then they’d go out,” she explained.
How Tall Are You?
“We were unlucky and lucky,” Debbie Lattin continued. “We lost all of our farm small tools, and generators, yard vacuums, our whole winter supply of hay. A fair amount of seeds for next year’s crops were all in there. All the feeders and waterers for the animals were stored in there, picking equipment for the gardens. Of course we lost all of the Halloween decorations and all of the stuff for the festivals, and signage, including the ‘How Tall Are You?’” photo board, she added.
Lucky: Christmas decorations were was not destroyed; they was being temporarily stored in the greenhouse. “We were going to put it away yesterday but got delayed yesterday afternoon and didn’t get it put away behind the barn, in a storage shed, which burned. And that’s the only reason we have the Christmas stuff left,” according to Debbie Lattin. “We’re still trying to make a list of all the things that were in there,” she said.
Public Support Needed
“A lady who had been coming here for years with her kids asked us if we could use some hay, because all of the hay for our goats was burned up last night. She went right down and bought a bale of alfalfa and a bag of feed. People have been doing nice things. The animals are all fine now,” Debbie Lattin said.
The structure itself was insured, but the Lattins are unsure about how they’ll recover from the loss. “We’ll have to see what the insurance is going to say. They haven’t been out yet,” according to Debbie Lattin.
Lattin’s bakery and store is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.