The scene of a barn fire in Linwood could have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for the efforts of township firefighters, aided by backup from Milverton, said Wellesley fire chief Andrew Lillico this week.A confirmed structure fire at 5690 Schumer Line brought crews to the scene early Monday afternoon where they successfully contained a fire to one barn on the farm property.
“They should be very proud of their efforts – it’s not often we go to a barn fire and see it standing after we’re done,” Lillico said.
The damage, estimated at $20,000, was confined to the second and third floor of the mezzanine hay storage area, along with the roof, which got the worst of it. About 30 head of cattle worth $45,000 were saved from the structure.
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Had the barn been consumed it would have cost owners about $1 million to rebuild, Lillico said.
Linwood firefighters were first on scene and began a “fast attack” on the fire. They made short work of containing the flames and holding them in check until help arrived. Three tankers were called in from the township stations and two more from Milverton.
“We work in a rural environment and we don’t have fire hydrants. The fire was in its early stages when we arrived. Obviously water supply is of great concern for us so by having the water supply that we had we were able to successfully extinguish the fire with minimal damage,” Lillico said.
The blaze is suspected to have started with an electrical malfunction, but no official cause has been determined. The cold weather and heavy drifting snow following crews’ arrival made the going difficult for the firefighters, he said. Fire crews could not move their vehicles in and out of the farm property and had to lay 1,000 feet of hose up from the tankers and along the driveway to reach the fire.
“It was challenging. Shortly after we arrived, the snow picked up heavily, visibility was poor and we had to rotate crews in and out during the fire.”
Cleanup after the fire was extensive as well. Large volumes of smoldering straw had to be removed from the lofts in the barn to prevent new flames from erupting.
“The farmer was very happy that we saved his barn and praised the fire crews. The crews did an excellent job of controlling and extinguishing the fire,” said Lillico.