Barn blaze kills 200 chicks

South Dart­mouth fam­ily farm loses feed, equip­ment

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By LAU­REL J. SWEET

A small cer­ti­fied-or­ganic fam­ily farm in South Dart­mouth, whose pop­u­lar­ity has grown along with its pro­duce, suf­fered a heart­break­ing set­back Satur­day morn­ing when its en­tire flock of lay­ing hens for the year died in a dev­as­tat­ing barn fire.

“I was stand­ing there with a bucket of wa­ter, think­ing I could do some­thing. I couldn’t be­lieve it, how fast it moved,” Sarah Cogswell, co-founder of the Cluck and Trowel on Hors­e­neck Road, told the Her­ald Sun­day.

The Dart­mouth Fire Depart­ment said the cause of the fire is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Cogswell said the 200 fu­ture egg pro­duc­ers were just chicks, only 3 months old and still in an in­cu­ba­tor. No other live­stock, in­clud­ing pigs and goats, were lost. How­ever, Cogswell said a num­ber of tools and soil-till­ing equip­ment es­sen­tial for plant­ing seeds come spring went up in flames, as well as tens of thou­sands of dol­lars in feed, hay and frozen meat.

“We’re just tak­ing it step by step,” she said.

Fire­fight­ers from sev­eral neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ties kept the blaze con­tained to the barn but Cogswell said em­bers were fly­ing and if the wind had taken a bad turn, she might have lost her house, too.

For­tu­nately, Cogswell was up be­fore dawn Satur­day pre­par­ing for a trip to the Paw­tucket Win­ter­time Farm­ers Mar­ket in Rhode Is­land.

“I was get­ting the eggs ready,” she said. “I looked out and saw a glow — this re­ally red glow and a huge black plume of smoke go­ing up.”

It was 5:45 a.m., she said.

Cluck and Trowel posted on so­cial me­dia Satur­day, “The barn and each of us are for­ever changed. Thank you for ev­ery post, share, com­ment, call, text, bot­tle of wine, beer and ev­ery last scrap of food, hu­mor, strength and sup­port we have re­ceived to­day. We lost a lot but have never felt so rich.”

“It’s a very close-knit agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity,” said Cogswell, adding that a GoFundMe page is in the works.

She sug­gested that any­one wish­ing to help Cluck and Trowel re­cover sign-up for the farm’s news­let­ter at www.cluckandtrowel.com/con­tact/ or fol­low them on Face­book.

COUR­TESY CLUCK AND TROWEL FARM

BIG LOSS: Fire­fight­ers ex­tin­guish the rem­nants of a barn blaze Satur­day in South Dart­mouth after flames erupted early Satur­day morn­ing. The co-founder of the Cluck and Trowel fam­ily farm said 200 chicks died in the fire, and tools and feed were also de­stroyed.

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