Fire ravaged the Laderoute family’s Hilltopview dairy farm on Saturday afternoon, killing dozens of cattle and incurring a loss of at least $1 million.
Around 2:40 p.m. on Jan. 27, neighbours called 911 to report smoke escaping from the Hilltopview dairy farm located along Nicolai Road in La Passe.
Local O.P.P. and the Whitewater Fire Department immediately responded to the call and upon arriving at 2:50 p.m. the fire had fully engulfed the barn.
As a team of firefighters fought the aggressive blaze, other crew members assisted the Laderoutes in their attempts to rescue as many cattle as possible.
Of the farm’s 140 cattle, many cows were fortunate to be rescued while many others perished in the fire and several had to be dispatched due to extreme injuries.
The blaze continued to send up smoke into the evening as firefighters remained on scene to sift through rubble and debris with heavy equipment, while the smell of smoke and a thick haze permeated the air.
The following morning, the Office of the Fire Marshall was contacted and fire investigator Christiaan ter Stege arrived on scene to begin investigations.
According to ter Stege, the fire was not suspicious, but the exact cause remains to be determined.
“We’re here to conduct a fire investigation into the origin, cause and circumstances of the fire and right now I’m just in the initial stages and I will resume the investigation Monday morning,” said ter Stege on Sunday evening. “It’s not a suspicious cause at all, but we still need to follow our standard systematic approach as we would with any investigation. In this case, it’s a huge structure – 275 feet long – and with a lot of ventilation and the wind being quite strong Saturday night going into the north east, that would have caused problems.”
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs are also expected to take part in the investigations.
To assist the Laderoute family with their tragic loss, a GoFundMe was created to help raise $10,000 to assist with their immediate needs. To support the fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/hilltopview-farm-fire-laderoutes
Source: The Daily Observer