Windsor

$1M barn fire that killed 100 cows sparked by straw near shredding machine

Tecumseh Fire chief Doug Pitre says the barn that houses dairy cattle is engulfed in flames.

Ontario Fire Marshal will not investigate because the cause is known

Tecumseh Fire says this dairy barn on 11th Concession was being evacuated when crews arrived on scene. (Alexandra Mary/Facebook)

More than 100 head of dairy cattle were killed in a massive $1-million fire at the Jobin Farms dairy operation on the 11th Concession in Tecumseh on Monday.

The blaze broke out shortly after 6 p.m. when straw built up around a straw shredding machine in one of the barns at farm.

"The machine caught fire because all that combustible straw went on the muffler or the engine itself so it got all hot," said Bob Hamilton, the Town of Tecumseh's fire prevention officer.

The OPP had the 11th Concession closed throughout the night as firefighters remained on scene. The road opened and fire crews left the farm at about 8:30 a.m.

The Tecumseh Fire Department said the Ontario Fire Marshal will not investigate because the cause is known.

Some of the cows escaped the blaze, but had to be shot later by OPP officers because they were too badly hurt.

Hamilton said firefighters from Windsor, LaSalle, Amherstburg, Lakeshore and Essex all came out to help battle the fire, but the fire was already well advanced when they arrived.

Firefighters had to make several trips to fill up tanker trucks because there were no hydrants at the scene.

The Tecumseh Fire Department to Twitter to say thank you to neighbouring departments.

Several buildings were demolished, though about 100 head of cattle were saved.

Rick Fuerth, an area farmer, said some were being taken to the Walker Sale Barns in Alymer to be distributed to other dairy farms so they could be milked.

He said some calves were being taken in by Essex County dairy farmers, of which about 50 showed up to help herd the cattle away from the flames.

"Fires are never very pretty. You lose livestock and it really changes your life around for sure," Fuerth said. "It's millions of dollars to rebuild, so no matter what kind of insurance you have, it's never all covered. Then it's, what are you going to do?"

Owners Norm and Rose Jobin were away in London and a daughter declined to comment to CBC News about the fire.

The fire at Jobin Farms is just the latest in a long string of devastating barn fires in Ontario this year. In March, CBC Windsor learned fires on Ontario farms in the first two months of 2016 led to at least 300 tonnes of dead animals.

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