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Some 450 animals perish in fire

Fire crews spent two hours putting out the blaze on a dairy farm in Wellesley Township. Losses are estimated at $500,000 to $700,000. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

It was all hands on deck when all three Wellesley fire stations, Waterloo Regional Police and a Woolwich Fire Department tanker were called to a major barn fire on Lobsinger Line Monday evening.

The call came in just around 5:50 p.m. on a dairy farm west of St. Clements. Emergency personnel arrived to find the structure completely engulfed in flames. The family was home when the fire started.

“Everybody got out and nobody was hurt during the fire,” said Wellesley fire chief Paul Redman. “Some of the kids that live there actually saw the fire; it was small, then they went and told their dad.

“It was really windy; they have sawdust and hay for the animals and a little spark can start a small fire. Then the wind blows it and just gets out of control in a matter of minutes.”

Their first concern was protecting the propane tank near the barn, then focused on the two silos nearby. Firefighters had the blaze under control in just under two hours.

Some 450 animals perished in the blaze. The family lost 250 piglets, 170 pigs and 30 cows. Fire crews did manage to save about 19 cows, and other animals on the property including horses, were unharmed. The damage to the barn and livestock is pegged at around $500,000-$700,000.

“I imagine they’ll probably start rebuilding sooner rather than later, probably in the next week,” said Redman. “The community usually comes together and helps them out. So they shouldn’t be out of business too long.”

Lobsinger Line remained closed for most of the evening in both directions from Hackbart Road to Moser Young Road due to heavy smoke.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but an investigation by the Woolwich and Wellesley fire departments is ongoing.

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