Vin­tage tool col­lec­tion lost in barn fire

Go­FundMe cam­paign started to help the Brooks fam­ily and their horses

The Peterborough Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - DO­MINIK WIS­NIEWSKI

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.

DO­MINIK WIS­NIEWSKI/TORSTAR

Fire­fight­ers bat­tle a blaze at a barn on Earl Joice Road in Hamil­ton Town­ship on Nov. 8.

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