Barn, 4,000 hay bales burned

The On­tario fire mar­shal is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Malahide blaze the caused dam­ages of up to $3 mil­lion

The London Free Press - - LOCAL - LAURA BROADLEY St. Thomas Times-Jour­nal

ST. THOMAS — The hay har­vest was in, the barn was filled.

Then the fire hit. In­ves­ti­ga­tors are prob­ing a blaze that de­stroyed a barn in Malahide, in El­gin County, the loss es­ti­mated at up to $3 mil­lion.

Fire­fight­ers from five mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were still at the scene early Fri­day, with crews ex­pected to re­main into to­day, af­ter the fire broke out the night be­fore on Vi­enna Line in Malahide, con­sum­ing the barn filled with 4,000 bales of hay from the har­vest fin­ished weeks ear­lier.

“(The farmer) had just fin­ished har­vest two to three weeks ago, so it was filled lit­er­ally right to the top,” said Randy Loewen, dis­trict chief of Malahide Sta­tion 2.

Fire­fight­ers from Malahide, Bay­ham, Brownsville, Cen­tral El­gin and South­wold bat­tled the blaze.

“When we got here it was fully en­gulfed, front to back,” Loewen said. “We have no idea what started this. It’s un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ob­vi­ously it’s go­ing to be a very tough in­ves­ti­ga­tion. (The) fire mar­shal has been called just be­cause of the value of the con­tent.”

The farm owner de­clined com­ment. Losses from barn fires in On­tario av­er­age more than $25 mil­lion a year, fig­ures from the On­tario Fire Mar­shal’s Of­fice show.

An On­tario group, the Barn Fire Risk Re­duc­tion ad­vi­sory panel, made up of farm and fire or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing from South­west­ern On­tario, is work­ing to re­duce the toll of barn fires in the province with a spe­cial aware­ness cam­paign fo­cused on pre­ven­tive mea­sures, in­clud­ing keep­ing elec­tri­cal sys­tems — of­ten the source of such fires — in top con­di­tion.


A high-hoe pulls apart smoul­der­ing hay bales Fri­day af­ter a fire late Thurs­day de­stroyed a Malahide barn filled with 4,000 hay bales some of which had been baled and stored only weeks ear­lier.

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