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More than 200 sheep die in stubborn blaze on Bethel Road farm

The fire started around 2 a.m. on Saturday inside Chris and Shirley Byford's barn, on Bethel Road, south of Demorestville. - Shauna Duguay Byford photo

The fire started around 2 a.m. on Saturday inside Chris and Shirley Byford’s barn, on Bethel Road, south of Demorestville. – Shauna Duguay Byford photo

Shauna Duguay Byford photo

Shauna Duguay Byford photo

Though it’s hard to see it through the thick, grey smoke still pouring out of the family’s barn on Sunday afternoon, Shirley Byford knows there’s light at the end of the tunnel and she is thankful for Prince Edward County firefighters who started battling the stubborn blaze 36 hours earlier.

County firefighters were called to the blaze at about 2 a.m. Saturday morning on Bethel Road, south of Demorestville. The massive barn and nearby quonsite – containing more than 500 bales of hay and straw – were fully engulfed.

That evening’s rain and snow were some help to dampen hot spots, but by Sunday at around 2 p.m., a call went out for more firefighters as more hot spots in bales ignited and smoked.

“It could have been a lot worse. It could have went well beyond, we know,” Shirley Byford said, watching over the area with family and friends, expressing worry about her husband Chris, who had spent the whole time working with the firefighters.

More than 200 sheep were in the barn at the time of the blaze. “They were lambing,” she said, pointing to a fenced area where those who had been weaned from their mothers a few weeks ago, had survived.

The family also expressed thanks to neighbour  who was able to take some to his farm. A call for pitch forks from neighbouring farmers was also answered to help firefighters work through the bales.

“There are a lot of people to thank,” said Shirley. “The firefighters are so wonderful.”

By 4 p.m. the smoke was still filling the air. The cause of the blaze is as yet unknown. It is believed there were no injuries to firefighters.

by Sunday at around 2 p.m., a call went out for more firefighters as more hot spots in bales ignited and smoked.

By Sunday at around 2 p.m., a call went out for more firefighters as more hot spots in bales ignited and smoked.

Byford-Barn-fire-Sunday-SC-

Thick smoke was still pouring out of the family’s barn on Sunday afternoon.

dust-mask-outsidedust-mask-inside

 

 

Firefighters, family and bystanders were offered dust masks to help block smoke from entering lungs. At left, the smokey outside of a dust mask, at right, the inside, still clean, after a little more than an hour.

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  1. Jim Hair says:

    Chris is a great shepherd who cares for his animals. This will be heartbreaking for him and his family. But he’s just the guy to recover and come back.

  2. Loretta says:

    So glad the homes and family were not included in the blaze. We have such amazing volunteer firefighters here in the County.

  3. Dee Alder says:

    Chris is a trooper and a very hard working guy who will forge on in the belief “things happen for a reason””.

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