West Michigan family’s bee farm destroyed in fire

Posted at 4:13 PM, Jul 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-04 16:26:30-04

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A West Michigan bee farm sustained thousands of dollars in damage during a fire early Monday morning.

Josh Nobel says the fire couldn't have happened at a worse time for his family farm. It's the middle of honey harvesting season.

"The barn, it was so far gone that by the time the fire department got here there was absolutely nothing left to salvage," Noble said.

Nobel got a call from a neighbor at about 2:20 a.m. saying that his bee farm's pole barn went up in flames.

"It's tens of thousands of dollars of equipment destroyed," he said.

Nobel says the barn that was destroyed was where his family harvested honey from beehive boxes.   Bees weren't stored in the barn and are spread out across West Michigan.

All of the machinery used to extract honey and the tools used to build the beehive boxes are now reduced to charcoal and ashes.

"Without the equipment, we can't do anything," Noble said.

The pole barn stood just feet from three large fuel tanks and a 19th century barn housing chickens, cows and hay.  The flames didn't spread further thanks to firefighters.

"At this point if we need to harvest, we're at the mercy of other beekeepers to help us," Nobel said.

Nobel says he has insurance but is not sure how much will be covered.