150 cows killed in West Prince blaze
ALBERTON - Knowing how much her husband, Kent, loves farming, Dianne Rennie says she is confident he will rebuild the dairy barn he lost to fire Friday afternoon in the community of Dock, just outside of Alberton.
It started just before noon.
Rennie and farm workers were in the loft packing straw when fire broke out near the escalator motor.
Dianne Rennie said the farm crew fought the fire with fire extinguishers and thought they had it out but it reignited. They had to escape from the loft quickly and call 911.
She said her husband used a tractor to knock down a gate to get the animals out, but they were only able to rescue seven. The rest of the herd perished in the inferno that consumed the dairy barn and the attached pole barn.
Provincial fire marshal Dave Rossiter was on the scene in the afternoon and said the farm lost in the vicinity of 150 animals. That included about 60 milk cows as well as dry cows and young cattle.
The loss is insured.
At the height of the fire, smoke was pouring directly onto the farmhouse in the farmyard. It is owned and occupied by Kent’s parents, Fred and Eva.
Diane Rennie said firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the house, but she expected it would have sustained smoke damage. Family members still hadn’t entered the home.
Other buildings on the property, including grain silos, a garage and a machine shop were saved.
An excavator was called to the scene to tear down walls so that firefighters could get at the fire.
Rossiter said a plan was being devised in consultation with the Department of Environment, the fire department and the owner, concerning the disposal of the rubble and animal remains.
Rossiter said the fire started on the second level of the dairy barn, where the straw and hay were stored, and was fueled by the strong wind. He said it would be at least the first of the week before he comments on the cause of the fire.
He estimated the size of the main barn at 80 by 30 feet. A pole barn was attached to it on a “T” was about the same size.
Alberton Fire Department was assisted on the scene by the Miminegash, Tignish, West Point and O’Leary fire departments. Area farmers provided their water trucks to help supply the firefighters with water to fight the flames.