Dozens of cows are dead after a fire destroyed three barns, including one that's more than a century old, on a family farm in Nepean.

The barns sit on a farm in the 2600 block of Prince of Wales Drive, north of Fallowfield Road.

The fire broke out around 1 p.m. and multiple 911 calls streamed in shortly after, said Ottawa Fire Services spokesperson Danielle Cardinal.

Three barns, including a 125-year-old structure, are destroyed and 80 cattle inside perished. The nearby family home wasn't damaged, though firefighters had to work to protect it as winds fanned the flames its direction.

"This is devastating" for the family, Cardinal said.

About a dozen cattle survived the fire as they were in the field.

The family is looking for help to house them, Cardinal said.

No one was injured and Cardinal commended the farmer for not going into the barn to try to save his livestock.

Because the farm sits in a rural area, there are no hydrants and firefighters had to mount a different type of attack, using water shuttles and tankers.

The fire was declared under control by 2:12 p.m. but firefighters remained on scene into Friday evening as crews used heavy equipment to shift debris and extinguish lingering hot spots.

Water and foam are also being used to douse any remaining fire, Ottawa Fire said in a release.

There's no word on the cause of the fire, but the estimated damage is over $1 million. 

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Office of the Marshal are all part of the investigation.

Barn Fire Prince of Wales 2

Tankers take water to the barn near Barrhaven that caught fire Friday afternoon. (Courtesy of Ottawa Fire Services)

Barn Fire PoW

The fire sent a thick plume of black smoke into the sky. (Courtesy of Sarah Gray)