Sequim Gazette staff
A fire destroyed one of Dungeness' first dairy barns Sunday morning.
Clallam County Fire District 3 reports John and Carla Morton awoke to an SUV honking at 4:45 a.m. Sunday, July 7, outside their home. They went outside to discover their barn at 121 Clary Road fully involved in flames with heavy embers landing on their home and their neighboring residents' homes.
Carla Morton told fire officials that several hot embers started a small fire on their roof, which she extinguished with a hose prior to the arrival of the firefighters. She credits lives and homes being saved to the unknown driver of the SUV.
Fire Chief Steve Vogel said he's not sure if they'll ever know the cause of the fire due to the severity of damage to the barn.
There was power to the barn, Vogel said, but nothing using it. A smaller shed west of the main barn was using a heat lamp for chicks and an electric fence before the fire demolished the structure.
The Mortons also lost their chicken coop, an F250 truck, farm tractor, lumber and a camper all worth about $150,000 including the barn.
Fire crews of three fire engines, two water tenders, a rescue truck, a wildland fire engine and a medical vehicle fought the fire for several hours before it was stabilized.
No damage to neighboring structures was reported.
The barn was built around 1892 on the Bessigio Homestead, one of the earliest dairy farms in Dungeness. The homestead was bought by the Clary family in 1968 and has since been in the family.