Fire can’t stop Boyden Sugarhouse

CONWAY — An errant spark burned but did not break Boyden Brothers Sugarhouse on Sunday afternoon, after a quick reaction from owner Howard Boyden and the Conway Fire Department.

Fire Chief Robert Baker said when firefighters arrived at the sugarhouse Sunday afternoon, the back section of the building was fully engulfed in flames and Boyden was in the evaporator room keeping the fire at bay with a garden hose.

Though Boyden inhaled some smoke, he was able to return a telephone call to say the shop will be open as always when anyone stops by, and a work bee today will patch up the back of the building.

“Conway Fire Department came through with a miraculous save here, because sugar houses don’t get saved,” Boyden said. A third of the building was destroyed.

“It was storage and a wood shed, but I have plenty of extra wood out back and all the good equipment is intact and we’re going to be making syrup when the sap runs.”

Baker said Boyden called 911 at 1:03 p.m. and he and his wife rushed customers out of the sugar house after realizing the wood storage room at the rear of the building was on fire.

Boyden, a firefighter with the Conway volunteer fire department, was able to keep the fire from spreading into the adjoining room holding the maple sap evaporator or the store beyond. Firefighters poured foam and water on the blaze, which left the back third or so of the building flattened and still smoking at 2:30 p.m.

Baker said Boyden was boiling sap when a spark from the wood fire evidently blew out of the chimney and was carried back into the open wood room, where it found fuel in the stacks of split logs.

Boyden said the partitions inside his sugar house helped save the structure and the business, started by his father and his uncle in the 1960s, and there will not be a wood shed to fuel any unwanted fire in the future.

Howard Boyden runs the sugarhouse at 642 South Deerfield Road, or Route 116, with his wife Jeanne, but they kept the Boyden Brothers name.

Whately, South Deerfield, Old Deerfield, Ashfield, Shelburne Center, Buckland and Greenfield fire departments assisted, with tankers carrying water from a nearby brook.

Help the Boydens stay sweet by donating to their rebuilding efforts here.