Barn Fire

We drove home from dinner in Montpelier on Saturday night to see an orange glow and smoke rising up from our hillside.  Our hearts pounded as we raced up the hill, not knowing what building was on fire, and thinking only of our yurt with our two dogs inside of it.  As we crested the driveway and saw the yurt in place, Edge said “it’s the bunker!”–our neighbor’s barn and attached garage where we had all our farm equipment, feed, and some personal items stored.  I dialed 911 as Edge ran over to the barn garage with a fire extinguisher, and within moments he came running back yelling “it’s huge!”  At this point, we could see the glow of the fire and smoke coming out of the garage doors, and in the 5-10 minutes it took for the first fire truck to arrive the entire barn was engulfed in flames.

our neighbor's barn

Edge called our neighbors below us to let them know what was happening, and they had the foresight to call the town and get a sand truck up here to make sure our narrow dirt drive was passable for the trucks.  The next call was to Hilary, the owner of the barn.  We assumed she was gone since all the lights were off, but she was home and had woken up only when her dog barked as the first fire truck arrived.  As I went into shock, Edge talked to neighbors and answered questions from the firefighters.  It hit me in waves what it was that we were losing, and all that Hilary was losing as well.  The only relief that came to me that night was in knowing our dogs and sheep were alive and unharmed, and all people were safe, too.  In a way, it was amazing we weren’t asleep when it began, as well.  Had it not been for my birthday dinner, we may very well have gone to bed and woken up as small explosions went off from the propane tanks and cars that were inside the barn.  It’s not anything I ever imagined happening, but the fact that we were able to call when we did feels like it is worth something.

We finally fell asleep sometime after 1:00 am, before the last fire engines left.  The next morning, Edge drove to Applecheek Farm to get chicken grain and enough hay to last us a few days.  Throughout Sunday, friends, family and neighbors called and came up to see what happened.  The constant re-telling of the story allowed me to process it, though Edge and I are still recovering from the loss of sleep and emotional impact.  Within hours of waking on Sunday, calls and emails were coming in in response to an email I had sent to a few farming networks the night before.  The overwhelming and immediate support has cradled and lifted us already.  We’ve totaled our farm-related losses at $8,000 and our personal losses at $3,000.  Though the price is high, we know that it is all replaceable, and we are so thankful to have our animals safe and all lives physically unharmed.

We will be putting together an action plan and keep everyone updated on ways to help.  One of the first steps will be helping our neighbor clean up the site, as well as getting a work party together to finish the two side walls on our seed house and get it set up for starting seeds.


This afternoon when I returned home from work, smoke was still slowly rising from the smoldering remains of the barn.  Hilary, our neighbor, reminded me that tonight is the new moon, and a new cycle is beginning.  May we reflect during this dark night and know that healing is already in motion.  The only way to move is forward, and that is exactly the direction we are walking in.

13 thoughts on “Barn Fire

  1. Lisa Damian says:

    My thoughts are with you. My dear friends at Heartbeet Lifesharing also experienced a devastating fire in the past month. The 4th house – almost complete – burned to the ground. Losses like this are hard to understand. I’ve been reading your posts for awhile and from them I gather you both are strong, empowered, have a broad perspective and are resilient and can come through this. Who knows what will rise – like a phoenix – from the ashes of your losses. If there is a way to send a small contribution please share how that can be done. I will hold you in my thoughts and look forward to your posts as you share your next steps. Blessings.

  2. Jessica says:

    Oh my dear friend…my heart aches for you. I am so glad you are surrounded by people who think nothing of giving. Let me know if there is anything you need.
    Lots of love,

  3. kspring says:

    Thank you to all. We are putting a donation page together and will post it here when it is ready. Thank you thank you thank you

  4. Karen Dailey says:

    I am Karen Snell Dailey, John’s sister. (My husband and I still are grateful for your guidance in planning our travels to NZ, for they enhanced greatly our time there.) 25 years ago, we suffered a devastating house fire, memories of which were quickly revived with words on your blog. My heart goes out to you. My experience tells me that this may be one of the most difficult years/experiences for you, and yet you may also find that it will be one of the most amazing years, filled with gratitude for friends, and with certainty that you are supported and loved by many. May you learn to receive all the gifts that come your way. with love, Karen

    • kspring says:

      Thank you, Karen. Your words are very comforting, and I know we are already feeling the amazing support of community. Our neighbor is also feeling support and is starting to recover as well. Thank you again~It is so nice to hear your message.

  5. 158 Main & JPD says:

    Sorry for not stopping here earlier to see this post and at least offer encouragement. Glad you are well. We do not know you, of course, but that makes no difference. You are someone with your own story, and you share some of it here from your heart, so how could we not be troubled by this, but relieved that all living “things” are safe. Be well.

    • kspring says:

      Thank you so much for your note and support. It helps every time someone reaches out, and with so much community support, we feel already so much closer to being back on our feet.

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