Vintage tool collection lost in barn fire
GoFundMe campaign started to help the Brooks family and their horses
NORTHUMBERLAND — Sue and Garth Brooks were out in the field with their horses when they heard a noise, turned around and saw flames shooting out of the north side window of their barn.
“The darn thing came down so fast,” Garth told Northumberland News after a fire destroyed their barn, which was located about 50 metres from their home on Earl Joice Road in Hamilton Township.
On Friday, at about 1:30 p.m., firefighters were called to the property south of Rice Lake near Gores Landing for reports of a barn that was fully engulfed in flames.
“I was a collector of tools and had everything,” said Garth. “If somebody needed to borrow something they could come here and I had it.”
In addition to tools that he had collected for the good part of 50 years, the couple also lost two motorcycles, a paddle boat they used a handful of times and a Cockshutt 30 tractor that Garth picked up in southern Ohio and rebuilt from the ground up with brand-new tires.
“Now it is melted in what used to be the barn,” Garth said. “It was not a very profitable day.”
But Sue said they were lucky — things could have been worse.
“We were outside doing work and we had the horses out in the
back field,” she said, noting that is when they saw the fire.
“I thought my barn cat was in there because I was just in there. I had gone upstairs to put something up in the hay loft and stopped in the cat’s room to see him and pet him before going downstairs.”
Within 20 minutes of being up there she said the barn was engulfed in flames.
“We assume it was electrical because it is the only thing I could think of,” she said.
Shelley Leger, the fire prevention officer for Hamilton Township, told Northumberland News that fire officials have closed their investigation, turned the property over to the homeowners and deemed the cause of fire as “undetermined.” The Ontario Fire Marshal was not called in, she said.
“We had multiple calls into 911 including the homeowners and various people passing by,” she said. “It was a three-station response and we called in mutual aid for more water from Port Hope and Alnwick and Haldimand.”
Leger said the department had a crew there until the scene was under control at 11:30 p.m.
“We did have a crew there overnight until 3:30 a.m. for fire watch if it rekindled and to put some more water on it,” she said, noting that did happen and members kept checking on the scene.
Leger said damages have been estimated at between $400,000 to $500,000.
In addition to thanking everyone who helped them that day, the couple said their daughter started a GoFundMe page to support them and their four horses. All the horses are rescues and lost all of their winter supplies in the fire.
“Everybody has been dropping hay, grain and blankets off for us because the horses lost their shelter.” SUE BROOKS HOMEOWNER
“We lost all the winter feed for our horses and we do our own hay in square bales which were all upstairs,” Sue said.
“It was our hay and straw, plus we just came home that morning from the co-op where we bought two weeks worth of grain.”
Sue said she and her husband are both retired and on disability pensions.
“We try to conserve as much as we can,” she said, pointing out that people have been stopping by with supplies.
“Everybody has been dropping hay, grain and blankets off for us because the horses lost their shelter,” she said.
“Everything we had was in the barn, including my husband’s machine shop because he is a tool and die maker. All the tools he has been collecting for 50 some years have been lost.”
Sue said she desperately needs a new shelter built for their horses, but the machines needed to build it are now gone.
In the meantime, they are trying to find storage for items that are being dropped off while they wait for the insurance company to do its assessment.
“We have to get the workshop back and what I told Garth is the only thing I want is a fourstall barn with a tack room, a feed room and wash stall,” Sue said.
To make a donation to help the Brooks family visit the GoFundMe page at https://bit.ly/36V9JPN or the Facebook fundraiser page at https://bit.ly/2NF5fp4.
Firefighters battle a blaze at a barn on Earl Joice Road in Hamilton Township on Nov. 8.