Press "Enter" to skip to content

Pocatello woman says her family, business will recover from fire; asks for community support

The Herron home and attached Woodland Orchards apple kitchen was destroyed by a fire on Jan. 3. | Courtesy GoFundMe
CHUBBUCK — Janna Herron and her family are confident they can recover from a disaster — after all, they have done it before.
In 2018, Herron suffered severe injuries in a work accident. To help pay the mounting hospital bills, she began making and selling caramel apples — and Woodland Orchards was born.
Having gone through that experience, the Herron family is taking its latest challenge in stride.
RELATED | She started selling caramel apples following a traumatic brain injury and now owns a thriving business
On Jan. 3, a fire destroyed the Herron home and the attached apple kitchen, where all of the Woodland Orchard treats are made. A serial optimist, Herron is confident her family will be able to once again pick up the pieces and put their lives back together.
“You can either laugh or cry,” she told, “and I always say, ‘I’d rather head laugh wrinkles than a cry headache.’”

Four members of the Herron family stand by as fire destroys their house. | Courtesy Facebook
RELATED | East Idaho Eats: Pocatello family makes gourmet caramel apples, and other tasty treats
Herron called the fire, “crazy” and “one of those things that you never think will happen in your lifetime.”
As she explained, her home, the same she spent her entire childhood, has always had a wood-burning stove, and her family has always disposed of ashes from the stove the same way. They have always scooped the ashes from the wood fire into a tin, then stored it outside for three or four days before dumping them. The technique had always worked without issue.
On the morning of Jan. 3, after dumping ashes that had been inside the tin for four days, Herron was sitting in her kitchen — she had decided to take the day off from making her apples — when she heard a pounding at her door. When she answered the door, she found a man informing her her home was on fire.
She said she was frozen in the surreal moment, not fully understanding what she was being told until she saw “flames shooting out of (her) house.”
Herron immediately sprung into acton, and ran back into her home to grab “irreplaceable” photo albums.
She brought the albums outside and was heading back in when the man, a contractor who was working on another home in the neighborhood, grabbed her. He told her it was not safe to go back in, as the flames had begun to spread across the roof.
“I was just outside, slobbering and crying on a perfectly good stranger’s shoulder, watching my house burn down,” Herron said.
That was when Bannock County Sheriff’s deputies and the North Bannock Fire Department arrived.
Herron stood outside thinking about all the memories that were held inside the house. She said that a built-in bookshelf, build by her brother, held many items she could never replace — photos and journals from her parents along with other family heirlooms.
When the ashes settled, and she was allowed to go back into the home, Herron was immediately overcome with gratitude for the volunteer firefighters, as she discovered the bookshelf and its contents had been saved.
“It was smoky, of course, but salvageable,” Herron said. I just burst into tears when I saw that, because those things are not replaceable.”
Still, despite the work of the North Bannock firefighters, the Herron family was displaced and the apple kitchen was destroyed.
After a short stint of staying with her brother, the Herrons have found a rental home big enough for the family of six. And they have begun replacing the necessities lost in the fire — clothes, beds and other personal items. And We Store It in Pocatello has given the family a free storage unit, to store items as they are salvaged
While Herron remained stoic through much of her conversation with, she did have a brief battle with her emotions when talking about the losses suffered by her children.
Her 10-year-old son, she said, is a “Lego fanatic,” who lost all of his Legos. And her younger children both lost their favorite stuffed animals.
“When they’re in tears over stuff like that, as a parent, that’s what killed me,” Herron said. “You can replace those things, but it’s still hard when you see them crying like that.”
Her oldest daughter, 17-year-old Audrey, has been a rock through the experience, Herron said, but even Audrey endured a brief breakdown earlier this week.
As Herron explained, Audrey lost her freshman and part of her sophomore year to COVID restrictions, then her school, Highland High School, was destroyed in a fire. Now her home has been destroyed in a fire and, as Herron put it, “her last nine months at home aren’t going to be at home.”

The Herron family vehicle, a Chrysler Town and Country they have long called “Marshmallow” is now “perfectly toasted.” | Courtesy Facebook
The family’s home insurance is slowly replacing or salvaging items damaged or destroyed by the fire. But her business insurance, Herron said, has not been as helpful.
“Unfortunately, it was lacking,” she said, explaining that her and her husband “don’t speak insurance” and did not know where the shortcomings were in her policy.
Woodland Orchards, Herron explained, will need to “figure it out” when it comes to replacing the complete industrial kitchen Herron had developed over her years of trial and error.
However, she said, the business’s start was “modest” and she has no doubt she will be able to build it back — “even bigger and better.”
“I know it’s a temporary thing,” Herron said. “If anything, this has given me pause to step back and look at (the business) and go, ‘do I still want to do this?’ and it’s a resounding ‘yes.’”

The Herron family inside the Woodland Orchards apple kitchen — which was attached to the home. | Courtesy Facebook
The path back will not be walked alone, which is something Herron quickly learned. Several local businesses, including Glean Coffee and Goodbye Hello, have rallied behind Woodland Orchards, and started a raffle with all proceeds benefitting the Herron family.
Herron has also received Venmo donations and seen a GoFundMe created on her behalf.
“People are awesome. You give them the chance and just–,” she said unable to finish her though, briefly overcome by emotions.

The plan, she said, is to have the apple cottage — located at 1580 Yellowstone Avenue — back open in early March. Herron was hoping to get things back together by February, but has made it the clear priority to settle her family into its new situation first.
In time, Herron will have to replace the machines that made it possible to dip and design thousands of caramel apples a week. In order to do that, a GoFundMe account has been set up, with a goal of raising $20,000 — you can find that account here.
Beyond monetary donations, Herron asked that community continue to offer its support for Woodland Orchards when it is back up and running.
“We started this business because of things that happened with my accident, and that’s, kind of, how it came to be,” she said, “so I know that good things can come from bad situations. So, I’m watching my house burn down, and my business burn down, and everything go to ashes, I’m just like, ‘OK, something good’s going to come from this.’ We’ll figure it out.”
The post Pocatello woman says her family, business will recover from fire; asks for community support appeared first on East Idaho News.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *