La Broquerie Fire Chief Alain Nadeau says it's almost a miracle that they did not lose the 2,500 animals at a large dairy farm at the north end of La Broquerie. A fire that started around 10:30 Tuesday night destroyed four barns. Some of them were vacant and others had calves inside. Nadeau says they saved most of the animals, however nine calves died. He adds it took a huge effort to save the three or four main barns.
"We had five fire departments there and around 50 or 60 firefighters and everybody worked really hard. It's probably one of the biggest saves I've ever experienced. It was quite overwhelming when we knew we had it there. The teamwork with all the fire departments that came, all the volunteers who were pulling out calves from some of the barns and I even had guys on trackhoes and bulldozers, they saved the day."
The other fire departments that were called in include Ste. Anne, Richer and Woodridge plus water tanker units from Steinbach and Giroux. Nadeau says the fire started in a feed processing area at the south end of the operation and a gusty south wind pushed the flames toward the rest of the buildings.
"We were very fortunate with the wind and the flames and all the material that was on fire. It's almost a miracle that we haven't lost all those 2,500 animals."
Nadeau says they saved the milking parlour and the three or four other main barns and the farm was able to resume milking operations early this morning.
The cause is still under investigation.