Four-alarm blaze at Red Fire Farm in Granby causes an estimated $1M in damages

Firefighters from multiple towns responded to Red Fire Farm in Granby on Saturday.

Firefighters from multiple towns responded to Red Fire Farm in Granby on Saturday. PHOTO COURTESY OF RED FIRE FARM

By AALIANNA MARIETTA

For the Gazette

Published: 02-18-2024 5:02 PM

Modified: 02-18-2024 5:06 PM


GRANBY — A blaze engulfed Red Fire Farm’s barn and farm store on Carver Street on Saturday afternoon, leaving the west side of the barn “completely obliterated” and causing an estimated $1 million in damages, according to co-owner Ryan Voiland.

According to a post on the Granby Fire Department’s Facebook page, dispatchers received multiple 911 calls reporting the fire at 12:50 p.m. on Saturday. When Granby police officers arrived, they reported “a fully involved barn fire with exposure issues.”

Voiland was working at the farm’s Montague location when the Granby farm manager called to tell him that the roof of the barn was ablaze.

“We immediately dropped what we were doing and drove,” said Voiland, referring to himself and his wife, Sarah, who runs the farm with him.

When the pair arrived in Granby at around 1:30 p.m., Voiland said what was left was flames and “wreckage” beyond repair, with about 75% of the barn “burned to the ground.” The fire was reported under control several hours later, according to the Granby Fire Department, but Granby Fire remained on fire watch well into the night. Voiland said the firefighters stayed until about 12:30 a.m.

In addition to Granby, the four-alarm fire brought in firefighters from South Hadley Districts 1 and 2, Belchertown, Hadley, Bondsville, Palmer, Ludlow, Ware, Chicopee and Westover Air Reserve Base. Officials from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Department of Fire Services and the Massachusetts State Police Fire Investigation Unit also responded. The Amherst Fire Department provided station coverage and Shutesbury provided a tanker truck.

The Granby Fire Department was unable to provide more information to the Daily Hampshire Gazette as to what may have caused the fire as of Sunday afternoon. Voiland is also unsure of the cause.

According Voiland, emergency personnel prevented the fire from spreading to the Red Fire Farm’s fields, tractor sheds, garage and farmhouse, and no residents or employees were injured in the fire.

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“I’d never seen anything like it,” said Voiland, referring to the size of the fire that swallowed a large section of the barn along with the three to four attached side buildings.

Voiland estimates the damage amounted to about $1 million after factoring in the lost signs, woodshop, tools, potting soil, irrigation equipment, boxes and pallets, deer fencing, display coolers and greenhouse, and “thousands of dollars” of inventory like fresh produce, dairy and frozen goods. Although he has insurance for the barn, Voiland said he is doubtful the insurance money will be enough to cover the cost to rebuild.

“It’s just a tragedy of epic proportions,” Voiland said.

The fire follows a series of tribulations for Red Fire Farm such as floods, diseases and droughts threatening the crops in recent seasons.

“It hasn’t been easy for farmers,” Voiland explained. Through tears, he said the fire was “the last thing we need.”

Voiland said he hopes to rebuild the store “way in the future,” but the timeframe is “unsure.” In the meantime, the store will close, but Voiland plans to continue growing produce for the winter community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm shares and “reconfigure something temporary for the spring.”

“One way or the other,” he said, “we want to try to keep doing what we can do in terms of providing organic produce for the community.”

Voiland organized a GoFundMe for the farm on Saturday. As of around 4 p.m. on Sunday, nearly 250 donors had contributed more than $20,000 toward the farm’s $200,000 goal. The GoFundMe is available at bit.ly/42LFacT.

“We certainly appreciate it,” Voiland said of the community’s support thus far. “We’re definitely going to need all the help we can get.”