Several buildings at the Los Rios Ranch apple farm in Oak Glen burned early Friday, Oct. 2.
At least the main building was a total loss, according to a post on the Riley’s Farm Facebook page.
Residents were awakened by pounding on the door about 2:50 a.m., the post said.
“We then drove up the road to see the building almost completely engulfed. The fire department appears to have contained the fire. We have no word on the cause,” the post said. “Oak Glen has lost some of its dearest history. Please pray for the Devon Riley family and the Wildlands Conservancy.”
Cal Fire’s San Bernardino Unit said the fire was reported at 2:15 a.m. and burned several buildings. Cal Fire dispatched four alarms before it could control the blaze.
The bakery, ranch store, packing house and Oak Glen Preserve’s ranger shop were destroyed, according to a post on the Oak Glen Preserve’s Facebook page.
“Oak Glen Preserve is closed until further notice,” the post said.
The Preserve is part of the Wildlands Conservancy. The 909-acre preserve is home to the Conservancy’s Southern California Montane Botanic Garden and Children’s Outdoor Discovery Center that are open to the public with no admission charge, according to the Conservancy’s website.
The Conservancy in 1996 acquired what it says is Southern California’s largest historic apple ranch, Los Rios Rancho, so it would not be turned into a residential subdivision. The farm is now leased to the Rileys.
Visitors were devastated by the news of the fire.
“This was my happy place,” Tonya Williams-McCall wrote on the Conservancy’s Facebook page. “Anytime I just needed to get away for a few hours, this is where I would go. We would walk the trail and go to the store for apple cider. I hope they rebuild.”
Raul Pedroza Jr. wrote: “That’s my favorite Oak Glen place to visit. I am seriously crying on the inside right now.”
And Terri L. Jones said: “I feel like I lost one of my own.”
Separately, Riley’s Farm has an apple orchard where the public can pick fruit, learn the history of the ranch and enjoy entertainment.
Video below by Community LEO Watch.
This is a developing story. Check back for more information.
Source: Orange County Register