Westchester maple operation lost in evening fire

Andrew Wagstaff & Raissa Tetanish
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Bentley family already planning to rebuild

A longtime family maple syrup operation burned to the ground here Thursday evening.

Avard Bentley inspects the remains of his maple sugar camp in Westchester, which was lost in a fire Thursday evening.

WESTCHESTER – The Avard Bentley Maple Products camp in Westchester was lost in the fire, which began at about 8 p.m. on March 19.

“It totally burned the whole camp down,” said Jean Bentley, on Thursday. “There is nothing left. That’s a lot of money, a lot of equipment… the whole kit and caboodle gone.”

She said her husband, Avard Bentley, was in the camp when the fire started, but was able to escape and call 911.

The Westchester Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call, and was still on the scene on Thursday.

“By the time the fire trucks could get there, it was gone,” said Mrs. Bentley. “He doesn’t know how it happened, and has no idea. Nobody seems to know anything, but the fire marshal and all those people will be looking at it.”

Mr. Bentley was busy Thursday trying to gather up enough equipment to salvage the 2014 season.

The Bentley sugar woods have been in operation since 1981, with more than 35,000 trees tapped, and about 12,000 litres of syrup produced each year. It was lost in a similar fire in 2006 but rebuilt, as they plan to do again.

“He says he’s going to build again,” said Mrs. Bentley.


Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: Avard Bentley Maple Products, Westchester Volunteer Fire Department

Geographic location: Westchester

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