A West Salem Township farm family will have to start over after a barn fire destroyed their livelihood and took the lives of more than a hundred cows Wednesday morning.
The barn at Amazing Grace Dairy Farm on Darien Road in West Salem Township housed about 120 cows. Although a few managed to escape, the others perished and the fire consumed a milking parlor and 10,000 to 12,000 bales of hay, said Lt. Rob McCauley of the West Salem Volunteer Fire Department.
Online reports show Amazing Grace is owned by Rick and Tammy Miklos and operated by the Miklos family.
Because so much of the family’s business was housed in the barn, McCauley said it will be difficult for them to start over.
“I’m hoping they’ll be able to rebuild,” McCauley said. “This was their business, this was their livelihood.”
A state police fire marshal was called and the preliminary investigation showed that the blaze would be ruled accidental, McCauley said.
One possibility, McCauley said, is a storm that came through the area may have sparked a power surge and ignited the barn, though McCauley stressed the investigation was ongoing.
The call came in at 2:47 a.m., with firefighters responding from West Salem, Transfer, Hermitage, South Pymatuning Township and the Trumbull County Tanker Task Force.
Firefighters were hampered by lack of a nearby water source, so several departments brought their tankers, said Hermitage Chief John Flynn. Even with the tankers, the hay bales in the barn made the fire hard to extinguish, Flynn said.
“The only way you could get to the fire is to blow apart the hay bales,” Flynn said. “It’s a difficult fire to put out when the hay is burning.”
What remained of the barn was still smoldering hours later, as Flynn said the firefighters weren’t able to get at the “seed” of the blaze, so it was best to let it fire burn out.
When the remains are finished smoldering, McCauley said the family would have to take the proper steps to dispose of the cows and meet with their insurance company to determine the next step.
Family members at the scene declined to comment.
Mercer County 911 said the scene was cleared at 6:56 a.m.
Source: Allied News