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Fruit stand goes up in flames

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Updated: 11/21/2013 8:36 am

WEST GHENT, N.Y. – The beloved Love Apple Farm went up in flames Wednesday night, and the property has been deemed a total loss.

Four fire companies arrived to the farm on Route 9H around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and it was already fully engulfed in flames.

“This was a farm stand…fruits, vegetables,” West Ghent Fire Chief Jim Cesternino said. “They had a kitchen in there. There are fork lifts on the other side where there is some refrigeration and propane and all that.”

Route 9H was closed and traffic had to be redirected in the immediate area.

The farm was previously owned by the Loken family but was recently sold to longtime friends.

New owner Donald Golden said he lost a lot of property in the fire, including files, computers and produce.

“It was the end of harvest, so we had everything in storage to sell for the winter,” he said. “It was so hot, the insulation melted. It’s a devastating loss. Our season is over.”

The orchard fruit stand was a popular landmark in Columbia County. Many residents recalled visiting the farm as children, and some even recently purchased pies from the farm for Thanksgiving dinner.

But Golden said there are plans to rebuild the stand.

A cause for the fire is not known. Fire crews are expected to return to the farm Thursday morning to put out any remaining hot spots.

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