Family rallies after massive barn fire in Abbotsford
Published Sunday, June 28, 2015 7:59AM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, June 28, 2015 6:35PM PDT
A large fire has destroyed a barn on the corner of No. 2 Road and Tolmie Road in Abbotsford.
The blaze broke out just after 6:30 a.m. Sunday, and caused part of the barn’s roof to collapse.
The barn housed cows, which were moved into a neighbouring field to escape the flames.
Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service Asst. Chief Ron Hull said nearly all of the roughly 280 cows and 100 calves got out of the barn. Only one, or possibly two, cows didn’t make it, he said.
Helena Vanderwal’s relatives own the dairy farm, which is known as Cedar Valley. She said everyone in the neighbourhood is a part of the family, and most have been farming for their whole lives.
The fire could have been much worse, Vanderwal said.
“It’s very upsetting to the family, of course, but everybody’s safe and unharmed,” she said.
Farmers and family members from all around the neighbourhood came to take the cows away. By late afternoon, all of them had been relocated, many to a farm in Chilliwack, she said.
“They just were here and took care of it,” Vanderwal said. “It’s amazing.”
Hot, dry weather in the Lower Mainland in recent weeks made it a priority to prevent the fire from spreading, Hull said.
Embers from the blaze sparked a few grass fires in the fields surrounding the barn, he said, but crews were able to put them out.
Hull said he expected firefighters to be at the scene for most of the day Sunday.
“Especially in the dry conditions, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a complete knockdown,” he said.