The first sign that something was amiss Saturday afternoon was when Cosmo Mercurio asked Judy Graham what smelled funny.
Graham, who was mowing the lawn outside of the couple's home in Kasilof, walked around their property to find out and came upon their barn engulfed in flames.
Within an hour, Kasilof and Soldotna firefighters from Central Emergency Services responded and had the blaze under control, but by that time the 40 foot barn collapsed on itself and lay in ruins.
"First I though 'Oh, I can put that out," Graham said with a laugh. "I screamed and yelled for my nephew and got the garden hose and some fire extinguishers. Then I called 9-1-1 and it seems like a long wait for them but the Kasilof fire guy was here pretty quick and then all these other people came too."
Mercurio built the 12-year-old barn and Graham said it was mainly used for housing goats, although she lost her entire fiber stash and spinning wheel as well. The two goats still living in the structure weren't inside when it caught on fire.
Capt. Terry Bookey said the call came in at 2:28 p.m. and the first arriving unit had the fire under control in eight minutes although the fire wasn't reported out until 3:44 p.m.
While the cause is still under investigation Bookey said it didn't look as though the barn fire was connected to other suspicious fires in the Kalifornsky Beach Road area.
In all, five rigs responded; eight people and a group from state forestry showed up to watch the area after the fire had been put out.
"It spread into the grass a little bit and when it gets into the grass and trees we call forestry and they make sure it doesn't spread to the surrounding land," Bookey said.
As Mercurio spoke with an investigator to help determine the cause of the blaze, Graham stood with her arms crossed in front of her chest.
She paused to thank Bookey for coming out and said she was glad no one had been hurt.
Nearby on a tree stump, a fresh container of lemonade and several glasses she'd brought out for the crew sat in the shade. She laughed and explained that it was 'hot work' and she just wanted to provide a bit of relief for the crew so she'd whipped up a batch.
"I've never seen anything like it. It was gone pretty fast," she said. "That fire was moving, these guys are brave people to go roaring up with a hose."
Rashah McChesney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org