A devastating fire ripped through three dairy barns in the RM of La Broquerie destroying 450 cows and 16 calves.
By Marianne Curtis
A dairy farmer from La Broquerie is planning to rebuild after a devastating fire that took place at the beginning of May which destroyed three barns and killed hundreds of dairy cows.
At about 6:15 on May 4 the La Broquerie Fire Department along with Ste. Anne and Steinbach Fire Departments were called to a dairy barn fire north of the community. There was nothing they could do other then to keep the fire from spreading to other buildings. In a matter of minutes fire destroyed three barns and killed 450 dairy cows and 16 calves. The loss has been estimated at $8.5 million and covered by insurance.
Owner Werner Hausammann says that the loss was a devastating blow and he was shocked at how quickly the farm was destroyed.
“I had gone to check on the barn around 6 and when I left I spotted smoke coming from the barn,” recalled Hausammann. “I turned around and in the few minutes that it took to drive back the barn was already engulfed.”
He somehow managed to save thirty-five calves but the rest of the livestock within the buildings perished. “I will never forget that evening,” he added sadly.
The fire destroyed a total of five buildings, including cow and calf barns, feed rooms and milking facilities. While the majority of the livestock were destroyed not all were lost. Freshening cows in the pasture were transported to other facilities for calving to be housed until the operation can be rebuilt.
The road to rebuild has already begun, added Hausammann. He expects that it will take awhile before he can rebuild because his application will have to go to the RM of La Broquerie and then to Manitoba Environment.
“If all goes well we will be in full production in a year and a half,” he says. In the meantime, staff at the farm will be compensated. “It won’t be easy but we are continuing to pay our employees.”
“We are grateful to the support from neighbours and the community,” Hausammann noted. Neighbours supplied equipment to replace items destroyed in the fire such as cattle trailers to move the cattle, tractors and a new feed wagon.
He also thanks the staff at both the La Broquerie Hotel and the Franz Motor Inn for providing food for the fire fighters and the many volunteers that helped during the cleanup process.
The Hausammann and Son’s Ltd. Dairy operation has been in the community for twenty-eight years.