Barn fire takes adored Fergie
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.