RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- A Randolph County landmark went up in flames Wednesday night, leaving a family with a big mess to clean up.
The barn is at the Pike Family Farm, which is familiar to many as the location of the popular Liberty Antique Festival.
The barn was currently where the farm stored several hundred bales of hay used to feed the cows the farm raises.
The barn is also the foundation of the family history through several generations.
Jessica Breffle’s grandfather, Hampton Pike, owns the farm and built the barn. She had to wake him up shortly after she found out the barn was burning.
“She told me my barn was on fire and I jumped up and come to the kitchen window and it was on fire from one end to the other. Wasn’t no need to be in a hurry then ‘cause it was gone,” Pike told FOX8, as he watched the barn continue to smolder more than 12 hours after it started.
Breffle says the history her grandparents built here all started in 1950 when they got married and started a dairy farm. Her grandfather built the barn from trees cleared where the cows continue to graze to this day.
The Pike children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren grew up here.
It’s also the place where tens of thousands of people have visited for nearly 30 years for the bi-annual Liberty Antique Festival.
“This has been here my whole life obviously, the history and the childhood, the memories from my mom and my uncle and my cousins and my grandfather and me,” said Breffle, about her lifetime of memories around the barn.
She says her grandmother passed away in August 2018 and now this; a tough loss for the family and her grandfather.
“It’s a life’s work and losing what they built together in a lifetime pretty much, I think he’s heartbroken, like we all are,” she said.
“I’ll look at it the rest of my life when I get up every morning but it will be different,” Pike said.
The Randolph County Fire Marshall’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.
The hay lost in the fire was enough to feed the cows over the winter and the family says they estimate they could only get through February with what they have left.
Fortunately, friends and neighbors of the family are already stepping up to help supplement their supply.