A massive fire overnight tore through a barn at a popular family farm in Stratham, New Hampshire.
Firefighters from the Stratham Fire Department initially responded to the Scamman Farm on Portsmouth Avenue shortly after 10:30a.m. on Monday.
The barn dates back to the 1800s. The owners of Scamman Farm said no one was hurt, but some rabbits and scores of laying hens died.
"Everyone is safe, our family is safe!" the owners posted on the farm's Facebook page. "Thank you to everyone for the kind words and most importantly Thank you to all of the fire fighters that put themselves on the line to keep everyone safe."
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Firefighters from dozens of departments had to bring in water tankers to fight the flames, said Stratham Fire Chief Matt Larrabee: “Intense heat. It’s tough to make a decision on which buildings we're going to save.”
The farm is owned by former New Hampshire House Speaker Doug Scamman and his wife Stella, who also served three terms in the House.
For years, it has served as a backdrop for appearances and speeches by various Republican presidential candidates looking to connect with voters ahead of the New Hampshire Primary. Mitt Romney even announced his presidential campaign there in 2011 and hosted a rally at the farm a year later.
“We have to figure out how to go forward,” Doug Scamman said, calling the barn iconic.
The now smoldering farm, seated on a picturesque hill off Rt. 108, is a staple for seasonal festivities in the town.
“They have corn mazes and the pumpkin patch it’s a big part of this community and a very New Hampshire thing,” said Ruth George, whose nearby business, New Hampshire Chiros, put up an outdoor sign wishing the Scammans well.
The farm was also as a major stop for politicians over the years. Republican Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for president there in 2011.
“It’s a wonderful community they’ve always supported us and we appreciate that,” said Scamman. “They know we’re in it to help society, not just us.”
He added that he still plans to have the annual fall festivities this year.
Gov. Chris Sununu tweeted about the fire on Tuesday morning, saying he's thankful the Scammans are safe.
"The Scamman Farm has been a bedrock in southern NH for generations," he said.