Farm Owner is Thankful to Good Neighbors for Saving Cattle from Barn Fire

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. -- On Tuesday, smoke was still spreading from a barn fire the night before on Lacey Springs Road. Parts of the barn were still burning, but fire crews said it was controlled.

The fire completely took over the cattle barn. With flames spreading quickly and smoke filling the air.

Not much of the barn was left after the fire. The owners said it used to be the biggest chicken farm in the state.

Assistant Fire Marshal for Rockingham County Pat Trimble said this was a difficult fire to put out at a barn because of the size. The barn stretches to be 900 feet long. Trimble said it was impossible to get firefighters on every side of it.

"It's like a skyscraper laying down really," said Trimble.

Another issue that fire crews dealt with was getting water to the fire. They said the closest hydrant was out of service, so they had to go a few miles away to shuttle water back.

Sharon Arbogast is one of the owners of the farm and she said she could see her barn burning from her house Monday night.

"When we got the phone call and I looked out, it's just one of those things that you think about in your mind that could potentially happen sometime, but when it does it's just overwhelming and you just start dealing with it," said Arbogast.

Dealing with the more than 250 cows inside was her main concern. She said they were able to get them all out safely thanks to so many good neighbors.

"We had a chain of humans, a fence of humans at the end there just surrounding, so when they came out, they'd go over in that field and not be spooked and run off, which is potentially what they could have done. That's a lot of cow!"

Arbogast said they had a lot of expensive farm equipment inside the barn, along with the cows, but she said all that can be replaced.

"You pick up and go on. Knocked down, but not knocked out," said Arbogast.

She said she was just happy all the cows made it out safely.

On Monday, the barn continued to burn, but Trimble said it was controlled and the rainy weather would help extinguish the rest.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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