Fire crews are investigating what caused the fire that burned down a popular family destination early Friday morning on November 4th.
The Apple farm is located on Route 444 in Victor between County Road 41 and Cherry street. A passerby reported the fire to 911 around 3:30 a.m. Friday. Shortly after a second call came in confirming the fire from the owners of the farm.
Firefighters from nine different towns were called in to battle the early morning fire. In addition to Victor, firefighters from Egypt and Farmington were battling the fire and tanker trucks from Mendon, Manchester, East Bloomfield and Ionia were called in to assist.
Fire authorities said that the fire started in the back room of the farm store but the cause is still unknown. 10 minutes after the first firefighters entered the building they were called out due to unsafe conditions. A few minutes after they were called out the roof collapsed. Fire crews fought the fire for over two hours until it was under control.
“What can you do? You run down and call 911 and that’s all you can do because there’s gas in the building,” said Muhir Bahai, the owner of the farm.
His daughter, Gloria Thomas, was unable to sleep and was folding laundry when she saw smoke outside her window. “It’s a little surreal. It’s like a bad movie – a bad dream – it’s weird to turn around and see that,” said Thomas.
The family said that a lot of memories perished in the fire that destroyed the family owned farm. “The walls were covered with blown up sized photos of the family of my dad and uncles when they were younger and starting the farm,” said Thomas. Muhir Bahair planted the first tree on the property 50 years ago. “Now it’s gone,” he said.
The farm was best known for their apples, cider and pie. “When I heard about it I felt sick,” said Mary Ann Stedman, who’s been shopping there for decades.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire and it was contained to the building. The 30,000 fruit trees on the property were unharmed by the fire. The farm also has goats, chickens and a pig in a petting zoo on the property. The animals were all rescued safely by firefighters. Bejan Bahai, the second generation owner of The Apple Farm, says that their first priority is finding a new home for the animals they had living on the farm.
The Bahai’s hope to rebuild the farm. The family has insurance for the farm but they aren’t sure it’s enough to rebuild. “(It) depends on the deal with the insurance,” said Muhir Bahai. The building is a total loss.
The family said they are humbled by the support they have received from neighbors, friends and even people they don’t know. “Our homes are OK. Our families are OK. Our animals are OK,” said Munir Bahai. “It’s just a matter of figuring out how to solve this puzzle.
Several GoFundMe pages have been set up to support the farm. Thomas wants to thank everyone that has reached out to them in support. “We hope to be back bigger and better,” she said.
The cause of the fire is still unknown.