A fire on Sunday night at a farm in Saint-Paul, N.B. destroyed three barns and what the owners say are a lifetime of memories and mementos.
Marc Cormier said there was simply no hope of saving the barns that have been in his family for three generations.
“I ran out and said call 911 but it was too late,” he said, adding that he quickly realized nothing could save the buildings.
About 60 volunteer firefighters from five different stations were called in to battle the fire.
Saint-Paul Fire Chief David Gallant said not having access to fire hydrants due to the location along with high winds made it impossible to contain.
“I think we had gusts of about 90 km/h so we fought the wind and the water was the hardest,” he said.
Cormier said firefighters had to bring in water from a pond down the road.
However, that didn’t stop him from rushing out with a fire extinguisher in an effort to save the horses huddled in another barn next-door.
“They were screaming. I could hear them screaming,” he said.
His wife Ginette said the horses are cherished family pets.
“They were scared. It took like 10 minutes to find them,” she said. “I think they were hiding.”
Cormier said he managed to save the horses, who spent Monday hiding out in a nearby field, too spooked to respond to their owner’s calls.
“The horses were behind and all the smoke was going that way, so I let them out,” he said.
Although the damage was significant, not all was lost as crews managed to save the adjacent buildings.
Cormier said he is grateful for the efforts of those who came to help.
“Thank god we had them because we would have lost all the buildings around,” he said.
He said he did lose at least six months worth — or “12 transport truck-loads” — of sawdust and hay he uses at his poultry farm over the winter.
Cormier’s 100-foot barn and two smaller barns are now rubble, and he said he also lost the water supply to his house.
“The water supply comes from a spring in the woods, so it all come through the barns and goes through my house,” he said.
Drillers arrived Monday morning to tap into a new well and Cormier said he was insured, so he will rebuild.
“Nobody got hurt, that’s the main thing. Metal can be replaced,” he said.
He said, however, that he will never be able to replace three generations of memories born on the farm that’s now a heap of charred debris.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Gallant said there are indications it could have been electrical.