Barton Orchards Shares Details About Devastating Propane Fire
Peter Barton and his family are still processing what happened after Barton Orchards exploded in flames on Monday.
A Bottini propane delivery truck is being blamed for setting off a massive fire that has destroyed the two main buildings on the farm and caused damage to six others. According to Barton, he was watching the Bottinin truck when he saw a plume of white smoke erupt out of the vehicle. Instantly, the driver began to run away from the vehicle. As she continued to run from the smoke Barton says he instantly knew something was horribly wrong.
The truck suddenly erupted into flames, destroying buildings, property, farm equipment and even some of the employees' vehicles. The fire was so intense that the risk of a massive explosion kept firefighters at a safe distance. Barton says that fire trucks from surrounding communities and counties all responded, attempting to cool the propane truck down and extinguish the flames with aerial ladders and enormous fire cannons from above.
The Barton Orchard's owner described the horrifying moments as he scrambled to make sure all of his employees and animals were safe. With the thick smell of propane in the air, Barton says he struggled to evacuate his elderly father who has trouble walking and is nearly blind. They all slowly kept to the perimeter of the farm as they made their way to safety.
With the busy fall season just weeks away, Barton says he has a huge challenge ahead of him. The farm has already been working hard to keep things growing with the drought conditions, but luckily none of the crops have been affected by the fire.
Peter Barton says that the outpouring of support from the community has been "so heartwarming." Because the farm has been left without refrigeration, Dutchess Beer Distributors have sent over a refrigerated truck to help store some of the farm's produce. Other local businesses and customers have also reached out to help. While marketing for the upcoming season will be tough, Barton says he still has a positive attitude, explaining "we're farmers so we're going to keep moving forward."
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