100 cattle dead after Oxford County barn fire
Published Monday, July 22, 2013 10:43AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 22, 2013 6:25PM EDT
Approximately 75 firefighters took part in the battle against a barn fire in South-West Oxford Township early Monday morning.
The fire was first spotted by a truck driver passing the farm on Highway 401 between Woodstock and Ingersoll.
He called 911 and pounded on the door of the Markvale Farms home on Clarke Road, waking the couple inside.
“We were awakened by thumping and banging on doors and windows,” farm owner Clarence Markus tells CTV News.
“I actually thought I’d slept in, because when I got out of bed everything was so bright.”
Fire crews were called in from neighbouring communities to help fight the flames, and remained at the scene for much of Monday.
“A large amount of the work is just getting water here. You can imagine the amount of water we need to put out a fire of this size, so just to keep trucks running, pushing water to us, is a lot of manpower in itself,” says South-West Oxford fire chief Jeff VanRybroeck.
About 110 cattle were killed in the fire, but Markus says about 80 were saved and taken to other farms.
Those 80 include SS Erica, who Markus calls his best cow even as he puzzles over how she was able to escape the metal chain keeping her in the barn.
“She was six, seven cows in, but somehow she got out. How, we don’t know. It’s a miracle,” he says.
SS Erica was taken to another farm, where she was milked regularly Monday morning and appeared to be in good spirits.
There is no overall damage estimate. Markus pegs the loss at over $1 million, but says any feeling of loss is overrun by his gratitude to friends and neighbours who have offered support.
“I can’t emphasize enough that this is only stuff. It’s things that we have, that we own, but it’s all replaceable,” he says.
The cause of the fire is unknown, but OPP say they don’t believe it to be suspicious.