Wellesley barn fire sees livestock perish, with damage put at $400,000

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It was all hands on deck for Wellesley Township firefighters as an early-morning fire Sunday destroyed a barn and caused some 150 animals to perish.

Damaged was estimated at $400,000.

The call came in just before 3 a.m. on Sunday morning from a farm on Hessen Strasse Road. By the time crews arrived, however, the barn had already collapsed onto itself.

The farmer and neighbours attempted to get some of the animals out, with about 70 cattle released from the barn. No one was hurt in the fire. Still, approximately 150 pigs, six horses and a dozen chickens perished in the blaze.

All three Wellesley Township stations responded to the call. Initial attendance was ten vehicles and 23 firefighters, a second call for firefighters went out, and at the peak, there were 35 firefighters on scene. Included were most of the 14 new recruits – this was the first fire after having just received their pagers December 18 following five months of training.

The fire department was on scene for approximately eight hours. Not only were firefighters battling the blaze, but also the weather. Minus-22-degree temperatures caused some issues with nozzles and air packs freezing.

“Damage is initially pegged at approx. $400,000. That could increase based on what happens to the two silos that were right beside the barn – our chief building official has yet to determine if they can salvage the silos. They were right beside the barn and took a significant amount of heat for a long duration,” said Wellesley fire chief Paul Redmen.

A Wellesley-area barn was destroyed and some 150 animals perished when a fire broke out early Sunday morning. Firefighters from all three township stations responded, battling the blaze for eight hours. By Monday afternoon, excavators were clearing debris from the burned down building (top). [Submitted / Faisal Ali / The Observer]

With the early collapse of the structure and excavation needed to extinguish the fire, determining a cause is extremely difficult, he explained, leaving it as “undetermined” for now.

The remains of the building were still issuing smoke by Monday afternoon as excavators dug in. [Faisal Ali / The Observer]