PITTSFIELD, Maine (WABI) - Balfour Farms is a popular dairy farm and café in Pittsfield. Last week, owners Heather and Doug Donahue suffered a terrible tragedy.
“We were just sitting down to lunch and Doug happened to look out and see something orange and he thought somebody was down here with a plow truck or something and then he went outside and looked and saw the barn was pretty much engulfed in flames,” explained Heather.
The barn was being used as a storage unit for personal belongings, equipment, and the farm’s poultry freezers. No humans or animals were hurt, but the structure is a total loss.
“The building was insured to some extent but a lot of what we lost was a lot of our personal belongings and a lot of our business equipment wasn't covered.”
Donahue says several café employees are now out of a job and they are still unsure about the future of the barn. Despite the hardship, community members are going out of their way to help the business.
“It's very humbling to have people that you don't even know stand up and say 'we support you and this is what we can do.' A lot of people in the community have been like 'oh we'll come out with shovels and we have pickup truck so we can help with cleaning up and everything.'”
Friends of the Donahue’s have set up a Go-Fund-Me page to help with some of the costs to replace equipment. They’ve even had help selling off the remaining poultry that was salvaged from the fire.
“A local business stepped up and said 'we're going to buy all the chicken,' and then they donated to the Welcome Table which is a weekly local meal for anybody that wants to come. It’s a free donation meal.”
For now, the Donahue’s are continuing to catalogue their losses. But they do so knowing that the community has their backs.
“The hardest part is looking for things and just not finding things and not finding that treasured thing from the grandmother or something like. And people in town have been very, very supportive and we're grateful for that.”