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Fire burns down dairy barn at Ridgedale Farm


The Ames Fire Department was alerted to a dairy barn fire at Ridgedale Farm, Maring Road, in the town of Canajoharie at 11:15 p.m. Thursday. 

About 40 milking cows and 10 to 15 young stock were removed from the barn by the farm’s owners and the first firemen on scene, with the animals being safely moved to a neighboring farm.

No animal or human injuries were reported.

“We had manpower from a number of departments,” Ames Fire Chief Shawn Bowerman said Friday, explaining, “The biggest issue was getting water to the scene and freezing temperatures.”

“Our original water source, the county pond, did not work out,” he said, so tankers were requested from a variety of fire departments, including Canajoharie, Fort Plain, South Minden, Rural Grove, Cobleskill, Sharon Springs, Ames, Carlisle, Cherry Valley, Springfield, and Ephratah.

Also responding to the blaze, which burned for hours overnight, were Montgomery County Emergency Management, Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffery Smith, and the county fire coordinator.

Continued Bowerman of Friday’s early morning freezing conditions, “We never had a truck freeze up where it wouldn’t pump, but we did have freeze-up problems,” including issues filling the tankers. 

While the fire was largely extinguished by Friday afternoon, the hay inside continued to smolder, with Bowerman explaining “it’s going to smolder for days.”

The Ames Volunteer Fire Department returned to the scene on Friday afternoon to deal with a re-kindle, upon request of the homeowner’s insurance adjustor “who wants to save as much of the milk house as possible,” Bowerman noted, “to try to keep intact what’s left so they could do a further investigation,” on Monday.

Bowerman stated of the fire’s potential origin, “It appears to be electrical, but I can’t make that determination,” as the investigation remains ongoing.

Thanking all responding departments, Bowerman added. “I really appreciate all the help.”

On Friday, Ridgedale Farm’s official Facebook page posted a message, stating, “A barn can be rebuilt. Our hearts will mend. There’s no energy left to be sad, just thankful. Last night was a living nightmare, today we are grateful for our friends, the firemen, the cows safety and that no one was hurt.

We appreciate everyone that has reached out. To be a small part of such a tightly woven farming community is special and we wouldn’t trade it, for better or worse.”

Source: The Recorder


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