Nova Scotia

Blaze devastates River John farm

A barn fire in the River John area has devastated a couple running a fibre and cashmere farm.
Chris Silver says the farm was days away from being insureable. (CBC)

A barn fire in the River John area has devastated a couple running a fibre and cashmere farm.

The fire started in the 120-year-old barn Thursday and quickly spread.

"Within 10 minutes maximum, the whole thing was gone, we lost half our herd, many of our pets, four structures," said Chris Silver.

The fire cost Silver half of his goat herd — more than 40 goats — and four outbuildings.

"I went in to try to save some animals, but it was falling down around me."

Silver's house, some animals, along with a neighbour's house, narrowly escaped the blaze.

"The water and electric came from through the barn, so we can't stay in the house right now."

Silver had been building the farm for seven years. It's devastating for the former government employee, who gave up his career to follow his dream of farming.

The couple had no insurance, they were trying to get it up to code to get it insured, and were just days away.

Four buildings and more than 40 goats were killed in Thursday's fire. (CBC)

To make matters worse, Silver is ill.

"I have leukemia, I am trying to get into remission, it makes me weak, so it's a struggle to walk, he said.

"I don't want to ask for anything, but I don't know any other way."

Silver said his community has helped him so far, offering food and support.

Farmers in the community have taken in the surviving animals until Silver can rebuild shelter for them.

"It's been hard on everybody, Chris has been going through some health problems in the last year and this really didn't help matters," said friend Daniel Ferguson.

They lost about a $250,000 worth of livestock and property.

"Right now, I guess I am talking to you because I am hoping people can help me, and people can help get us back on our feet. There are other farmers who have experienced this and know how fast it can happens," he said tearfully.

An account has been set up in the couple's name at Scotiabank.