Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fire Safety 101

On Friday last week, we learned a hard lesson on fire safety, but a good one.  A lesson which taught us that we should never take for granted farm safety and knowing what to do in a critical situation.  At 1:50pm on Friday I decided that since it was hot out I would double check that my dry cows were getting enough water.  On my way past the new dairy barn I smelled smoke.  As I look up I could not determine where the smoke was coming from.  Once I reach the road I saw the source....our calf barn (the previous milking barn)!!!!!  I was driving the 4-wheeler and pushed it as fast as it would go.  Once I reached the back of the barn, I saw the flames!  The large fan at the back of the barn, which was used to keep our calves cool was now blowing the flames further into the calf pen. The calves bellared in fear, a horrifying sound.  I rushed inside to unplug the fan and try to chase the calves out.  Fear filled the calves, they wouldn't move, so I left the gates open and rushed outside to call 911.  As I called 911, I ran to the house to get my father in law.  I jumped on the 4-wheeler a got Jon.  Once we got back, in a matter of minutes, the guys were in the back of barn fighting the flames with a garden hose, and us girls (my sister in law, my grandmother in law, and I) were pailing water onto the flames as well.  The round bale of corn straw that I had in the back pen was on fire, as  was the bedding in the pens.  At this time, most of the calves in the pens had been evacuated and we were in the process of moving the others out of the front of the barn (about 40 total).  It took about 14 minutes from the first 911 call until the fire department's a 10 minute drive from town, so I thought that was pretty darn fast!  At this point the guys had the flames down to only a couple smolders.  The fire department took over looking for hot spots (we had a couple walls that were close to igniting).  We removed the round bale and ripped it apart, hosing it down. 

Once it was all said and done, we had family and friends there to help us.  We cleaned up the wet smoky bedding and by 7pm, the calves were back in the barn!!!  It's amazing but no calves were hurt,  no people were hurt, the barn is slightly burnt but still in tact, and everything was ok!!!!!!  Truly a miracle!!!!!  We know we had some angels that day!

Thank you so much to those who came to our aid, the fire department, our quick thinking family, farm safety classes, those who check in on us to make sure that we were ok and most of all thank you to God for protection from what could have been an incredible disaster!!!!!  Check out the damage picture below.

Our calf pen with blackened steel in the back where the fire was burning.

Note the plywood, where the fire department ripped a hole in the wall to find a hot spot.

Burnt plywood.

Gates and steel all blackened from the flames. Our plastic windows also melted.

2nd pen where the round bale was sitting.  The steel is now black as well.


  1. Glad your emergency turned out OK - if you read my blog, you'll know we had one too. Farming is in the top 5 of the most dangerous jobs and we are so blessed by the days when there are no 911 calls. Especially glad there was no loss of any kind of life.

  2. I did just read about your emergency. So often we do put ourselves in dangerous situations all for the cause of our cows. Some would say we are crazy, but when people work safely, injuries & damages can be minimized.

    Hope your employee is doing well!


I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!