Tecumseh barn fire claims more than 100 livestock
Published Monday, April 18, 2016 10:27PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 19, 2016 5:20PM EDT
More than 100 livestock have perished in a Tecumseh barn fire Monday night.
The fire broke out just after 6:00 p.m. at Jobin Farms – a dairy farm -- on Concession 11 in Tecumseh near County Road 42.
More than 50 firefighters from all over Essex County battled the fire, which spread to two barns and the silo.
Fire prevention officer Bob Hamilton says 225 dairy cattle were in the barn when the fire broke out. Hamilton says fewer than half that number -- made it out alive.
“They were able to get out probably around 150 at this time,” said Hamilton, though he says many who escaped suffered smoke inhalation. “We don’t know what the resolve is, because you have to remember, they have bigger lungs than us, so they take in more air and smoke.”
The surviving cattle were herded away from the heavy smoke.
Hamilton says there were no human casualties. A few workers were on site when the fire began.
Hamilton says the blaze is not considered suspicious.
He says the fire appears to have started when a straw shredding machine ignited near a hay-pile.
“What they use that for is the bedding for the cow,” Hamilton said. “What happened is the machine caught fire because all that combustible straw went onto the muffler or the engine itself, so it got all hot."
Neighbour and family friend Rick Fuerth came to assist when the fire calmed down. He says the owners, Norm and Rose Jobin, were not home when the fire broke out. Fuerth estimates the dairy farm has been in business for more than 50 years.
“Fires are never very pretty,” he said. “You lose a lot of livestock and it really changes your life around for sure.”
Hamilton of Tecumseh Fire says it’s still early, but damage is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
“What do you do now, because it will change their whole operation?” said Fuerth. “It’s millions of dollars to rebuild. So, No matter what kind of insurance you have, it’s never all covered.”
The investigation is ongoing.
The Ontario Fire Marshal will not be attending the scene, since the cause has been determined.