Daisy Main damage

During 35 years in business, Daisy Garden in Bayport never experienced a disaster like the large fire that ripped through two greenhouses Wednesday night.

“We had a couple snow storms where the houses collapsed but nothing as devastating as this,” said the garden center’s manager, Colleen Fleming. “It looks like a little war zone back here.”Daisy Open

Still, Daisy Garden opened for business the next day, Thursday, proudly flying its “OPEN” flag along its main entrance on Gillette Avenue. It took a day to get the nursery’s phones up and running and staff still couldn’t run credit cards as of Friday.

‘As of right now we’re just accepting cash,” Fleming said.

The fire broke out about 10:30 p.m. and is believed to be electrical, Fleming said.

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“Of all the things to burn here, that was the worst,” she said of the now-bent and blackened greenhouse toward the eastern end of the property, which was used for storage and housed the center’s offices and tool room.

A crop of poinsettias was also lost in a neighboring greenhouse that was damaged

“They are absolutely roasted,” she said of the poinsettias.

The center’s owner, Tom Stemmler, was unavailable to talk Friday, but Fleming said he and the rest of the staff have the firefighters from Bayport and beyond to thank for the center being up and running.

“The volunteers for the fire department were here putting out the fire before the boss could even get out of his house,” she said. “And he lives right here, on-site. They were here immediately. They were phenomenal.”

She also said the neighbors have helped lift everyone’s spirits.

“People were just coming in to see if we needed anything,” she said. “They’ve been great.


photos by Michael White