Second alarm fire destroys everything in its path at Schmidt Farm

LEWISTON, ID - Families are recovering Monday after a fast moving fire destroyed several farm buildings and a house over the weekend.

Smoke could be seen from miles away early Saturday morning as a two-alarm fire moved quickly destroying everything in it's path.

"There was a lot of heavy fuel," said Lewiston Interim Fire Chief Travis Myklebust. "There was a lot of stored lumber inside so you had and then with the metal roofing it was difficult to get enough water on the seat of the fire to try to suppress it. I have not seen a fire like that in quite some time."

"The sheriff's department came woke us up and said we need to evacuate because the neighboring structure was engulfed in flames and the basement was filling up with smoke," said home owner Sharol Schmidt. "So I'm really thankful they woke us up and told us to get out."

And while the Schmidt's were safe their lively hood burnt to the ground. Damages estimated at around $300,000.

"Before I was born my dad bought it and ran it as a dairy farm for a while," said Schmidt. "Since then we raise cows and we got the chickens and the sheep and most of what we had to be self sufficient is gone."

The cause of the fire has since been determined.

"They had an electric heather mounted to the wall because they were trying to keep them warm, something either shorted out or a material either came in contact with the heater," said Myklebust. "That is where it started but because it was in that breezeway and we had a south westerly wind it just kind of fed through and pushed the fire to the home and then pushed the fire into the outbuilding."

The milk-house, which was renovated into an apartment suffered some of the greatest damage of all.

"The two people that lived there were both out of town, their dog was there and unfortunately there dog was lost," said Schmidt. "And I think a few chicken casualties as well."

As you look around this residence you can see fire damage very expensive and not a whole lot to salvage, however family members said that so far they have recovered a birth certificate as well as a bible.

"Everything we had to re-build is gone so starting over," said Schmidt.

Estimated damage caused by the fire is $300,000. If you'd like to donate, you can visit any Potlatch Federal Credit Union branch. An account has been set up under the Schmidt Family Farm.