Family looks to rebuild after large fire in St. Joseph County, Michigan

Published: Jul. 30, 2018 at 6:53 AM EDT
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An early morning fire destroyed a family's barn in St. Joseph County, Michigan.

The Miller family has owned the farm since the 1970s. Now, they are trying to figure out how to rebuild.

“This was our nucleus,” said the owner’s granddaughter Emilee Miller. “This was our entire nucleus to our entire operation.”

Emilee Miller jolted out of bed this morning rushing to her family farm.

What normally is a 20 minute drive today, took her ten because when she arrived the family farm was engulfed in flames.

“It’s heartbreaking cause this was basically the center of this whole little farming universe that we have right here,” said Miller. “It was the center of everything.”

Constantine Fire Department first arrived to farm located just off US-131 around 4:20 this morning.

The flames were so out of control that ten different departments helped out.

With the extra help, crews were able to have the fire contained by 5:30 a.m.

But by that point, the Miller family’s main barn was completely destroyed.

“All of our maintenance was done in there,” said Miller. “We had storage in there. My mom’s office, my mom does the bookwork and stuff. That stuff was all in there that was just destroyed.”

But despite losing the backbone of their business, a sliver of hope.

“Big shoutout to the fire departments cause they worked their butt off,” said Miller. “The house is a very very close proximity to the barn to the shop that burnt.”

The farm did not lose any crops and is 100% a crop farm so no animals were injured during fire.

Emilee Miller understands the struggle of the farming industry but won’t let this bump in the road deter her family

“Farming is not an occupation,” said Miller. “ It’s a way of life and it’s just in your blood. I mean we will pick up, we will get through this.”

Fire crews remained on scene all afternoon putting out any hotspots as construction crews began to take apart what’s left of the barn.

As of right now the cause of the fire is undetermined, but the family believes it may have been electrical.