Fire destroys McMinnville-based beekeeping operation
Loss placed at $2 million
(Paul Daquilante / N-R Reporter) AMITY — An early Saturday morning three-alarm fire caused an estimated $2 million in damage to Van Calcar Apiaries Inc., a McMinnville-based commercial bee keeping operation.
"It's a pretty big blow," owner Nick Van Calcar said. "I lost a lot of money, a lot of stuff that I have put a lot of work into over the last 13 years."
Firefighters from multiple agencies responded about 1 a.m. to the fire at 10930 S.W. River Bend Road, northwest of Amity and west of Whiteson.
Law enforcement personnel reported they could see smoke and flames from just outside McMinnville at Highway 18 and Durham Lane. The glow of the fire and smoke could also be seen from just north of the Bayou Golf Club on Highway 99W.
Van Calcar made the first call to 911. A second and third alarm were quickly sounded, bringing in personnel from many neighboring agencies. The general fire alarm sounded in McMinnville.
Ten water tenders responded because of a lack of water at the scene, according to Amity Fire Chief Bruce Hubbard. Nine engines were dispatched. About 65 firefighters battled one of the biggest blazes reported in the Yamhill Valley in recent years.
There were two separate structures. One was two stories containing more than 9,000 square feet. Van Calcar had been living on the second floor. The second building was more than 8,000 square feet. The structures were tied together. They were constructed of wood siding and had metal roofs.
It's believed the fire started on a flatbed truck, according to Hubbard, who said the cause may not be determined because of the damage. He and three other members of the Yamhill County Fire Investigation Team — two from McMinnville and one from Newberg — were at the site Sunday. Hubbard said he believes the team has completed its work. Van Calcar said he carried insurance on the property, and Hubbard said an insurance adjuster may choose to further investigate the cause.
Fifteen people employed at the business are out of work as a result of the fire.
See Tuesday's print edition for additional details.