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Fire consumes four dairy barns

800 cattle believed dead

By: Kaitlyn Kozarchuk

Posted: 08/12/2019 12:46 PM

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Hours later, fire crews were still working to extinguish the smoldering remains of the barn. A 911 call reported the blaze at Pennwood Dairy at 4:42 a.m. on Monday morning.

KAITLYN KOZARCHUK | THE CARILLON Enlarge Image

Hours later, fire crews were still working to extinguish the smoldering remains of the barn. A 911 call reported the blaze at Pennwood Dairy at 4:42 a.m. on Monday morning.

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A massive fire destroyed four of six barns on a dairy farm early this morning, leaving nothing but waves of thick smoke rising from a mass of blackened and twisted metal.

Steinbach fire chief Kel Toews said fighting the fire at Pennwood Dairy was a team effort which included help from fire crews from Ste Anne, Giroux, New Bothwell, Blumenort and La Broquerie.

The issue, Toews said, was water supply.

The farm, located east of Highway 12 near Giroux, has no fire hydrants for crews to draw water from. For a fire as big as this one, fire crews were ferrying tankers back-and-forth to fight the flames.

"You just need a lot of water to fight that," said Toews.

Toews said the cause of the fire is still being investigated by the Office of the Fire Commissioner. A 911 call was made at 4:42 a.m., and there were already two barns engulfed in fire when the crews arrived.

Since four of the dairy barns were connected, there was little the crews could do to contain them. About 200 cows were able to be saved, but Toews an estimated 800 cattle were lost in the fire.

Toews said they were able to set up a defensive line in front of them to protect the two remaining barns.

Toews said it took the fire crews a few hours to get the fire under control. Even though the barn’s exterior is made out of tin, the inside is all wood framing.

"The metal keeps the heat in so it sort of becomes an oven," Toews said.

He added the next step is for crews to extinguish silage that also started on fire.

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