It was just a storage shed. Some straw. Some sawdust. Bedding for the animals on a farm started by Michael Adams and his family in 1979.
The family built that shed. The first one of the Adams Farm property. Talking to Michael Adams after fire reduced the structure to rubble, you could see those remembrances pass before the long gaze of his eyes.
“Everything here got built by my brother, my dad, myself, my kids, my wife, everybody that’s come along through here," Adams said. "We tried to do all the work ourselves." He paused. "I look at it and start thinking about the days we were building it and, know you. …What can you do?”
The fire at 5664 Little Canada Road, Bethany, was reported at just before 2:40 p.m., but by then it was already too late.
“We were fixing a hose in the shop and came out, just got done with it, sent the neighbor back home with it, our tenant actually, back home with the hose," Adams said. "Came around the corner and looked and seen black smoke coming out the one corner of the barn there and that’s when I called 9-1-1 and tried to get down there and see if there was anything I could do but I couldn’t even get near it. It was already hotter than hot, you know."
The Adams farm specializes in replacement heifers for dairy farms and has about 60 head of beef cattle. The farm also grows corn, soybeans and a little bit of hay, Adams said.
Bethany Assistant Chief Jeff Pietrzykowski, today's scene commander, was in the city when he got the dispatch for the fire. Pietrzykowski could see the smoke column all the way down Ellicott Street. He immediately put out a second alarm for Stafford Fire to respond as well.
The first firefighters on scene found flames leaping from the windows and the roof was already gone.
"Our top priority was keeping it from the other buildings," Pietrzykowski said. "There was heavy fire. It was almost on the ground when we got here, but we were worried it was going to spread."
With no public water in the area, tankers were needed to haul water from a nearby pond.
Mutual aid departments included Alexander, City of Batavia, Town of Batavia, Le Roy and Pavilion.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
"It’s just like everything else around here, probably way under-insured, you know," Adams said. "Maybe we can put something smaller up if possible, but just to store our bedding and whatnot -- for the cattle mostly, that’s what it’s used for."
To purchase prints, click here.