Martha Vaughan made her biggest save – a house.
The owner of Fox-Bell Weddings and Events in Port Angeles saw a four-year effort come to fruition last week when Nickel Brothersan Everett house moving company brought their new house on a barge from Surrey, British Columbia to Dungeness at 3 Crabs Road.
“It seems surreal,” she said late on June 8.
“I used to have a beautiful house and I’m happy to replace it.”
On December 18, 2017, firefighters from Clallam County Fire District 3 responded to an 911 call regarding her previous owner’s rental home that accidentally caught fire in the 200 block at 3 Crabs Road.
Assistant Fire Chief Dan Orr said he was completely engulfed in flames that night and no one was home at the time. Vaughn is expecting tenants in the coming days, he said.
“(The fire was) devastating and broke my heart,” Vaughan said, as profits from the rental went to support her animal rescue efforts between Fox-Bell and Fox-Bell weddings and events. Fox Bell Farm at 136 Finn Hall Road. But she plans to help other animals in the new home as well.
Vaughan estimated that they had about 50 rescue horses, as well as many other animals such as dogs, goats and even a turkey.
“From the initial shock, I’ve been working on (replacing the house) ever since,” she said.
“I am a great lifeguard. It is so important that it is not demolished and sent to a landfill.”
A mid-1980s, approximately 4,000-square-foot two-story home was built in inland Surrey, east of Vancouver. BC Vaughan said the house was ready for demolition before she and Nickel Bros stepped in and she bought it without visiting.
She said the property was so valuable that the previous owner preferred to rebuild rather than remodel the house.
Jeff McCord, lifeguard for Nickel Bros, said: “It’s amazing that she does it.”
He said that by recycling the house, she saves more than a hundred trees and a house “with a lot of life left.”
McCord estimates that her move is about half the cost of building a new home due to labor shortages and rising costs.
To make it possible for the house to move from British Columbia to Clallam County, crews removed it from its foundation, placed it on a truck, hauled it onto a barge, shipped it to Dungeness, and placed the house in a new house along the beach.
Crews had to wait for the tide to come in and began unloading it around 11:30 pm on 8 June, and worked on installing it the next morning.
Crews used to lay dozens of plywood sheets over hundreds of feet to allow cars to move unhindered over the sand.
Vaughan said permit work had been underway in recent months and everyone from county officials to Nickel Bros was “really on board.”
Won said, “I had to jump through so many hoops, but I did it.”
For the next year, she says Vaughn plans to live in the house while she remodels it. She hopes to reopen it for rent next year, and the profits will once again help the rescued horses and animals.
Her daughter Shelby Vaughn, who runs the Fox-Bell Farm, said: “Very few people can do what my mom does for animals.”
For updates Vaughan says to check fox-bell.com.