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February 5, 2023

Trout Farm Inn destroyed by fire

Brian Reynolds was sitting on his deck on West Zayante Road in Felton on the lazy Sunday afternoon of June 5, looking back across Zayante Creek to the restaurant he had owned for two years a decade ago.
He could hear laughter and splashing in the public swimming pool next to the Trout Farm Inn, a mountain landmark that opened 69 years ago.
Then he saw “a big puff of dark black smoke” suddenly pour out of the kitchen chimney on the creek side of the one-story wooden structure.
Inside, owners Kelly and Yvonne McGuire were helping with a big luncheon party. They heard a commotion in the kitchen, saw smoke crawling along the ceiling and immediately ordered the evacuation of the restaurant. Mcguire briefly tried dousing the fire with fire extinguishers.
Startled swimmers looked up to see people leaving the restaurant, and grabbed their towels to join them across street.
Up a small embankment where they stood is the home of the volunteer Zayante Fire Department, whose parking lot often handled overflow parking from the popular swimming, dining and music venue. Within minutes, volunteer firefighters arrived. Four minutes, to be exact, according to Chief John Stipes. He said the call came in at 2:20 p.m. at 7701 E. Zayante Road.
In that short amount of time, flames 20 feet tall had engulfed half the restaurant, crackling the dry leaves of a tall live oak that leaned up against one end. Some neighbors fearful of a wildfire started gathering their belongings and pets, just in case.
“It was a total loss. Gone in a few minutes,” he said. His teams contained and doused the blaze.
Miraculously, no one was hurt, including the crews of a half dozen engine companies from Zayante, Felton, Ben Lomond, Scotts Valley and Calfire, who would battle the stubborn fire until just past sunset.
Just three days earlier the McGuires had hosted a joint mixer of the San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley chambers of commerce. They bought the restaurant four years ago.
This week, owners of the property, Caye Properties LLC, were sorting out the damage with insurance claims adjusters.
Updates about the fire aftermath can be found on the Felton Trout Farm Facebook page. Joe’s Bar and Grill in Boulder Creek on Wednesday hosted a fundraiser for the Trout Farm staff. Employee Kayla Miller set up a GoFundMe page for the Felton Trout Farm Family. It had raised $,5,209 by Wednesday, with a goal of $200,000.


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