NEWCASTLE (CBS13) — A fourth-generation farming family is trying to figure out how to move forward after a century of Placer County history went up in flames Wednesday night.
“The fire actually started on the side across from our home,” said Camelia Enriquez-Miller.
She still can’t believe her beloved barn is gone.
“We heard some booms outside of our house and came out and saw the packing shed was on fire,” Enriquez-Miller said.
Her family has farmed 80 acres of land at Twin Peaks Orchards in Newcastle for four generations. They live in five homes on the property.
“We are hilly and the wind was coming in a little, so we were nervous [how] it was going to affect the homes,” Enriquez-Miller said. “We tried to use a hose and a fire extinguisher, but inevitably knew that wouldn’t be enough, so they called 9-1-1.”
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By the time fire crews got there, the barn was a total loss.
“The whole building was 100 percent involved. It was hitting vegetation on the outside,” said Newcastle Fire Chief Pat Nelson.
Firefighters set up 10 engines, 6 water tenders and a ladder truck to keep it from spreading to the surrounding hills.
“So we put about half the engines out, making sure none of the vegetation component was changed,” Nelson said.
The fire claimed their workshop filled with tools and three tractors, along with the packing shed.
“This is the heart of our operation – and everything comes out of the field and into this packing shed,” Enriquez-Miller said.
The family is still assessing the damage, but two shipments of nectarines and peaches heading to a Whole Foods distribution centers were valued at tens of thousands of dollars. But the family says the barn itself, built in 1912, was a priceless piece of Placer County history.
“We have had dinners, family receptions, community events. There’s no way to put a price tag on the amount of memories we lost,” Enriquez-Miller said.
The family says they have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of community support from the community and customers – everything from meals, equipment to labor.