JACKSON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A popular local non-profit is left reeling following an early morning fire.
Flames hit The Lands at Hillside Farms in Luzerne County’s back mountain. The fire destroyed a building used by many visitors.
The building destroyed is the education center. Losing it is a blow to one of the non-profit’s key missions, helping the public learn about the rich history of this landmark site.
Jacqueline Horn, her daughters 4-year-old Sutton and 2-year-old Collins, and the children’s grandmother made their way along the grounds of The Lands at Hillside Farms checking out some of the animals that call the site home.
“We love Hillside. We come here quite a, quite a lot,” said Horn.
Horn is stunned to learn about the early Tuesday morning fire that decimated the non-profit’s Education Center which also housed a workshop.
“It’s devastating. It’s just I’m just happy that, you know, no people or animals were hurt,” stated horn.
The building now charred and in shambles was considered the hub for summer campers and 4-H groups who would use the center several times a week. It leaves the landmark site facing a big question: what now?
“I might be crazy but I’m up there looking maybe the foundation is good. Maybe a miracle could happen and we could get a building back up in three months but probably not but I’m just going to try,” explained Chet Mozloom, Executive Director at The Lands at Hillside Farms.
Mozloom says with a summer already booked with scheduled camps, one thing is certain.
“There’s no way we’re not going to have it so we’re going to find a way,” said Mozloom.
The Lands at Hillside Farms is a top ten tourist attraction in Luzerne County.
“For the people of Luzerne County and the people who visit Luzerne County, anything that would happen out at Hillside Farms is a blow to all of us,” explained Alan Stout, Executive Director at Visit Luzerne County.
A blow that thankfully wasn’t worse for a farm that dates back to the 1800s.
“We’re just happy that this part is still holding strong that we can come to visit,” said Horn.
The education center was one of The Lands at Hillside Farms’ newer buildings. It wasn’t considered historic but its significance can not be understated.
The building was insured but the executive director here says he’ll have to figure out what to do about the building’s contents including little kids’ chairs and workshop tools.