Firefighters from Osler, Warman, Martensville and Dalmeny battled a massive fire at a dairy farm northeast of Osler on Monday night, Mach 19.
The fire completely destroyed a shop containing farm machinery and cattle feed. Damage is estimated at between $1.6 and $2 million.
No one was injured in the blaze, which began shortly before 9:00 p.m.
Osler Fire Chief Jason Pauls said they received the call at 8:50 p.m., and when they arrived on scene they found the 80 foot by 120 foot building completely engulfed.
“We saw flames shooting through the roof on the southeast corner of the building,” said Pauls. “We had to attack it from the outside because it was just too dangerous to enter the building. We set up a water wall between the cattle barn and the structure that was on fire to make sure there was no extension of the fire into the other nearby buildings.”
Pauls said the shop was a steel building, which presented challenges to firefighters.
“When those roof trusses burn, and the steel roof comes down, nine times out of ten you can’t do an internal attack,” said Pauls. “For safety’s sake, we didn’t enter the building at all. There was a lot of stuff burning, including a bale processor, feed wagon, trucks and tractor. A lot of fuel was burning and tires were popping. It was chaotic.”
He noted the owners of the farm were on the scene, and they told firefighters there was no one inside the building.
Warman Fire Chief Russ Austin said his crew received a call for mutual aid from Osler at about 9:00 pm.
“They called us for a secondary crew for the initial attack, and then called Dalmeny and Martensville for support with the water supply,” said Austin. “On a farm with a big fire, it takes a lot of water to fight it.”
Austin said there were close to 30 firefighters from Osler and Warman, with another four firefighters from Martensville and Dalmeny.
“Kudos to the Osler guys,” said Austin. “They did everything right. We were able to contain the fire and save the rest of the buildings. There was a cattle trailer about 15 feet away from the building, and another 20 or 30 feet away was a dairy barn operation with a big barn full of cattle.
“On the other side there was a stack of about 250 bales. If the fire had spread it would have been a way worse than what it was.”
Pauls said firefighters fought the fire until about 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. He said they continued to monitor hot spots until well into the daylight hours.
A provincial fire investigator was scheduled to arrive on the scene of the fire the morning of Tuesday, March 20. The investigators had to wait until the embers cooled before they could go through the debris.
Pauls said while the fire is devastating, the actions of neighbours in the area the morning after the fire was inspiring.
“These people have very good neighbours,” said Pauls. “As I was leaving this morning, some neighbours and friends had brought over a feed wagon so they could feed their cows.
“Dairy cows don’t milk unless their fed. The family had lost everything they needed to feed their cattle – their tractor, their feed wagon. So that really shows the spirit of Saskatchewan.
“We’re a small community. Everybody knows each other, and they help each other in times like this.”