Blaze levels barn at White Lotus Farms in Washtenaw
Firefighters from multiple communities spent hours Monday battling a three-alarm blaze that destroyed a barn at the White Lotus Farms in Washtenaw County, whose products are familiar at area farmers markets.
The flames appeared to have started about 4:45 p.m. in a woodworking area of the three-story building, which is attached to a house on the property near West Liberty Road, said Doug Armstrong, Scio Township fire chief.
No one was inside the barn at the time; a man in an adjoining house escaped to safety with three cats, he said.
Township firefighters needed help from crews from surrounding departments since the farm is "set in a rural area, so there’s no fire hydrants that are close," the chief said. "Our biggest challenge was getting enough water here."
The fire was extinguished, but crews remained on the scene past 10 p.m. Monday, checking still-smoldering sections.
The barn was lost, and the nearby house heavily damaged, Armstrong said. No injuries were reported.
"Every single animal is accounted for, unharmed and are sheltered and safe," White Lotus said on its Facebook page. "We will be at the Ann Arbor and Eastern markets as usual, with a new special of smoked mozzarella!! We look forward to seeing everyone for our spring Farm Cart opening on May 4th."
The site is touted as "Ann Arbor's premier source of local artisan bread, cheese and organic farm produce."
Farm leaders thanked the firefighters for their response.
"Your kindness, bravery and compassion is truly appreciated," their Facebook post read. "Baskets of bread and cheese will be showing up at your fire departments."