Mystery Samaritan helped to avert tragedy in fires that razed historical barns
The main barn as it looked in 1971. -- Photo from the John Morton collection
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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DUNGENESS — Owners of two 120-year-old barns that burned said Monday they’re grateful to the driver of an SUV who alerted them of the blaze, saving them and many belongings.
Carla Morton was awakened at 4:45 a.m. Sunday by a vehicle honking its horn in the yard of the home she shares with husband, John, and their two children at 121 Clary Lane.
The motorist who alerted her also helped get her two young daughters and her husband, who has a broken leg, away from their home as embers were landing on the roof.
The mystery person then tried to help Carla Morton get other large items out of the burning barn, she recalled Monday.
“I don’t know who this wonderful man is,” she said.
With his help, Morton was able to get the family van out of the barn, and he tried to get other equipment out.
But a Ford F-250 pickup truck, a camper shell and multiple pieces of farm equipment and antiques were lost, along with 28 chickens that perished.
But not all animals were lost.
Two of the laying hens that were in the smaller barn showed up late Sunday.
And a cat that was missing after the fire appeared in the middle of the night, waking the family.
“She was covered in ashes and crying,” Morton said.
Property loss from the fire was estimated at $150,000 by Clallam County Fire District
No. 3 Chief Steve Vogel.
Investigators probably will never know the fire’s cause.
“The structure is too severely damaged,” Vogel said. “There is nothing to recover or investigate due to the extent of the damage.”
The barns’ history’ included the Anguli family, which owned a large area north of Evans Road to Woodland Heights, said John Morton, 44, who grew up on the farm as a Clary family member.
The two barns were built in 1892 — a large dairy barn that was currently used for storage, and a smaller barn that included a chicken coop with 30 laying hens.
They caught fire in the pre-dawn hours Sunday.
The Clary family, current owners of the barn and surrounding property, purchased the dairy farm in 1968 from Carrie Baseggio, a member of the Anguli family.
Baseggio was the married name of Carrie Anguli, the last living Anguli sibling, said Jerry Angiuli, a cousin.
The family had two different spellings of their last name because of immigration officials who spelled the names differently as they immigrated to the U.S. and Canada in the early 20th century, Angiuli said.
None of the three Anguli siblings had children, he said, so Baseggio — the last of the three siblings — sold the farm in 1968, after which it became known as the Clary Dairy.
Angiuli said he was uncertain exactly when the Anguli family arrived and whether the clan purchased or built the barns.
The Angiuli side of the family had initially settled in Canada, and later moved to Dungeness to be near their cousins, he said.
The Clallam County Historical Society, which has recorded information on many of the old barns in the county, didn’t have a record of the Anguli-Clary dairy barn.
“I’m surprised there isn’t information on this barn,” said Kathy Monds, executive director of the Historical Society.
Monds’ research included the book 125 Years Good Life Shrines by Harriet Fish, a history of historical barns in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.
John Morton said he had been in many of the barns in the area, and many of them were remarkably similar to his family’s barn.
“I’m sure they had a Shaker-like tradition of barn-raising,” he said.
He said the majority of the barns had the same framing and layouts.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: July 08. 2013 6:12PM