A barn fire in western P.E.I. killed 93 cows Friday.

There were 100 cows in the dairy barn in Elmsdale, just west of Alberton.

A family member told CBC News the fire started shortly before noon Friday while hay was being moved into the loft area. She said sparks from an escalator caught the hay on fire and it quickly spread through the barn.

Fire marshal David Rossiter said the winds were making it difficult to get the blaze under control. He expected crews to be on the scene overnight. 

“The second level of the structure was full of hay and straw. That was the area of origin. We’re still working on talking to the witnesses on the exact cause,“ he said. 

“We’re waiting on officials from the department of the environment to come up to try to figure out a strategy of how to dispose of these animals.”

Six departments attended the fire. 

The seven surviving cows have been taken to neighbouring farms for milking. The barn, which was insured, is expected to be a write-off.

The provincial fire marshal is investigating the exact cause.