The Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue farming community is pitching in to help staff at McGill University's Macdonald campus after the school's barn was completely destroyed in a fire.

The fire started shortly before 6 a.m. this morning on the agriculture campus.

Farm manager Paul Meldrum said if it wasn't for a quick thinking employee, hundreds of cows might have been killed.

'It’s typical of another farm community, they come together very quickly'- Paul Meldrum, farm manager at McGill University Macdonald campus

Meldrum said an employee was working in the barn when he noticed the flames and shut the firewall doors that separate the feed storage area from the dairy barn, where about 135 cows were sheltered.

“I have to take my hat off the engineers who designed that firewall. It did its job,” Meldrum said. 

After the fire department was called, students and staff came over to help herd the cattle to several pens outside of the barn.

About 60 firefighters worked this morning to put out the fire. 

Meldrum said they've already received calls from members of the community, offering to help out.

"We’ve had people phone us and say if we need feed, if we need cows, do we need another barn. It’s typical of another farm community, they come together very quickly," he said. 

Fire destroys hay barn, winter feed 

According to Meldrum, the fire spread quickly across the dry hay and straw, destroying the barn that was storing all of the dry hay and bedding for the winter.

"The hay barn is completely gone, destroyed," Meldrum said. 

He said it's likely they will lose a couple of their silos as well. 

No people or animals were injured.