Sunday, July 29th, 2007 at 4:00 pm in Lafayette.
Our reporter went out to the scene of a fire at Deer Hill Ranch this morning, and filed this story …
By Dogen Hannah
TIMES STAFF WRITER
A fire destroyed two buildings, about 50 young chickens and decades of agricultural history at a small Lafayette ranch Sunday morning.
Firefighters extinguished the 6:57 a.m. fire at Deer Hill Ranch, 3232 Deer Hill Road, in about 45 minutes, according to a Contra Costa County Fire District official.
No one was injured, but the flames consumed two small barn-like buildings, along with the buildingsâ€™ contents, and scorched grass on an adjacent hillside.
The fireâ€™s cause was under investigation.
The nonprofit ranch provides children and adults with the opportunity to experience life on a small, working farm. It also teaches visitors about historical and modern agricultural practices.
â€śFor a small nonprofit like us, this (fire) is a huge blow,â€ť said Alex Morrison, ranch administrator.
One destroyed building, a brooder house, contained about 50 chickens being raised to join the ranchâ€™s free-range flock, Morrison said. It and the second building, used as a classroom, also contained a large collection of antique agricultural implements and furniture.
â€śItâ€™s all gone,â€ť Morrison said.
The charred remains of butter churners, cream holders, a pie safe, a cider press and other antiques littered the fire site Sunday afternoon. A fire district official estimated the value of the burned buildings and contents at $55,000.
The fire spared other livestock, including ponies, donkeys, goats, sheep and rabbits. â€śThey certainly had a rough day, and theyâ€™re on edge, but none of them was hurt,â€ť Morrison said.
Anne Holding, the ranchâ€™s director for farm animal programs, said the she already had begun to make plans to rebuild.
â€śWe teach resilience here,â€ť Holding said. â€śHopefully, it will be an opportunity for the community to come together to do a barn-raising.â€ť
Reach Dogen Hannah at 925-945-4794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.