Crime

Barn, garage for meat processing destroyed in fire near Custer

The remains of a building destroyed by fire at the home of Todd and Paula Crabtree and Crabtree Wild Game Processing Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.
The remains of a building destroyed by fire at the home of Todd and Paula Crabtree and Crabtree Wild Game Processing Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. The Bellingham Herald

A fire erupted near a smoker at a meat processing operation north of Custer and burned down a garage and barn Sunday night, Sept. 13, firefighters say.

The two buildings were engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived to 8627 Sunrise Rd. at about 8 p.m., said Lynden Assistant Fire Chief Robert Spinner.

A propane tank on the property was leaking and fueling the flames. Six fire engines and six water tenders responded, and firefighters were able to save the family’s home and a meat storage building, Spinner said.

Todd Crabtree, who runs Crabtree Wild Game Processing on the property, was in that storage building with his daughter when his wife alerted them of the fire. All three got out without any injuries, though Crabtree was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, Spinner said.

A garage, barn and a chicken coop were destroyed, said Fire Marshal’s Office Investigator Will Anderson. He estimated the damage at $100,000 for those structures, not including the contents.

The fire originated in the smoker inside the garage, but the cause will remain undetermined, Anderson said.

“This thing burned to the ground,” Anderson said.

Reach Wilson Criscione at 360-756-2803 or wilson.criscione@bellinghamherald.com.

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