Fire devastates Cumberland County maple syrup farm
'Nothing's salvageable,' says owners of Bentley's Maple
A maple syrup farm in Cumberland County has lost its production facility after the building burned to the ground Wednesday night.
"Nothing's salvageable at all, nothing," said Jean Bentley, who owns and operates Bentley's Maple with her husband, Avard Bentley.
The business has operated a sugar camp in Westchester Station since 1978, but the site was in ruins after Wednesday's devastating fire.
The Bentleys were preparing for the start of the maple season.
Avard Bentley said he left the camp to have dinner after turning on the sap pumps and returned to find everything on fire and all the equipment lost.
"Two huge evaporators, reverse osmosis machines, vacuum pumps, all the storage tanks, butter machines," he said.
"A lot — anything to do with maple was in there."
Justin Rushton, the chief of the Westchester Volunteer Fire Department, said the fire was so fierce there was little the department could do but keep the fire from spreading.
"Basically you set up some hose lines and try to contain the fire to the area it's in, and try and extinguish it from there," he said.
There was no word on how the fire started and the damage is only partially covered by insurance.
But Jean Bentley said this isn't the first time the business has had to bounce back — a similar fire in 2006 also levelled the facility. They rebuilt then, she said, and they are ready to do it again this time.
The Bentleys also operate a blueberry business.