Barn fire takes adored Fergie

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA M CLEAY

A sus­pected light­ning strike has left a Mata­mata barn razed with the owner’s prized trac­tor in­side.

Neigh­bours phoned Michael and Wendy Roweat 1.11am on Oc­to­ber 4, to say the barn on their run-off block on State High­way 29 was ablaze.

By the time they ar­rived noth­ing could be re­trieved.

‘‘ My Fergie 28 was in­side. It was my pride and joy. I bought it in 1978 and we did it up and painted it too,’’ said Mrs Rowe. ‘‘Those trac­tors are like gold. They don’t make them like that any more.’’

Mr Rowe was try­ing hard to look on the bright side.

‘‘ It could have been worse. We usu­ally keep calves in the barn but this year we still had them on our dairy farm which is just down the road,’’ he said.

Fire en­gines from Mata­mata and Ti­rau at­tended the scene and called for ex­tra as­sis­tance from Mor­rinsville Fire Bri­gade.

Fire in­spec­tors who vis­ited the prop­erty said the blaze was ei­ther caused by a light­ning strike or their trac­tor but Mr Rowe be­lieves it was light­ning due to the wind di­rec­tion on Mon­day night.

Light­ning had been spot­ted in front of the barn for most of the night and a passerby alerted the Mata­mata Fire Bri­gade.

Tools, a con­ven­tional bailer and more than 400 bales of hay they had grown and bailed them­selves were de­stroyed.

‘‘It was beau­ti­ful hay.’’ said Mr Rowe. ‘‘You can’t buy hay of that qual­ity at this time of year.’’

The 40.5ha (100a) block is used pre­dom­i­nantly for young stock, hay and silage.

Dev­as­tated: Michael Rowe sur­veys the ru­ins of his barn that was still smok­ing 12 hours later.

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