A fire Sunday at a barn on County Road 27 in Essa Township killed more than 50 animals.
The fire department was called just before 4 p.m. to the large dairy farm, where smoke could be seen for “many kilometres,” according to Essa Fire Chief Doug Burgin.
“When we arrived, there was extensive fire involvement with farm staff working on getting animals out of the facility and the fire department, obviously, working on fire attack,” the chief added. “We requested mutual aid from the following departments: Innisfil, Barrie, New Tecumseth, Springwater, Adjala-Tosorontio, with Clearview and Bradford covering off.”
With seven departments involved, the fire was able to be put out Monday.
“We had a total of 11 tankers running in a water shuttle operation,” said Burgin. “Approximately 50 personnel (were) involved in the operation, which went through the night and well into Monday.”
Given the severity of the fire, no cause was identified.
“Nothing suspicious about the fire, but due to the extent of damage, we will be unable to determine a cause,” said Burgin. “The entire operation was lost, and we estimate the loss between structures and equipment and livestock to be in the area of $6 million. Unfortunately, just over 50 animals were lost, but the group was able to save approximately 140.”
Burgin believes it was one of the largest fires in recent history for Essa.
“Based on the sheer size and extent of fire, it was difficult to fight, but the bigger issue was the weather. With the heat warning and humidity, it took a toll on personnel, which resulted in requiring extra personnel on site to spell crews off,” he said.
“We managed with the assistance from other departments, and everyone worked very hard. OPP were excellent to work with as they closed roads in the area to allow our tankers to shuttle water effectively.”