'Amazing outpouring' of support for Englehart farm after fire broke out nearby

ENGLEHART - Cindy Rosborough had just finished helping one of her goats deliver its babies when her neighbour sped into her driveway to warn her of a nearby fire.

Homing about 130 animals, Rosoborough’s Funny Farm is located in Englehart. The fire broke out on Thursday (May 23) and was a result of a wind storm. A tree near the farm was knocked down and fell onto a hydro line, which set the tree on fire.

“My neighbour, she never drives like that. She was yelling at me, ‘Do you have your phone? You have to call 911,’” Rosborough said.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and the hydro company both responded to the call within 30 minutes, Rosborough said. A water bomber was also sent to the scene and some volunteer firefighters came to lend a hand too, she said.

“In the meantime, two more fires in our area started up and one in the tri-town started up between Cobalt and North Cobalt. So there were fires everywhere. And then a tree fell in the middle of downtown New Liskeard as well. It was horrible,” she said.

“Our fire could have been disastrous because we live basically in the bush. And that's how I took it, it was going to be disastrous.”

Because of the uncertainty of the fire, the farm took to its Facebook page for help from the community in case its animals needed to be evacuated.

Rosborough, who has owned the farm for nine years, said they had hundreds of people from across the North, some as far as Timmins, reach out willing to help. Within the hour, there were 15 people who showed up with horse trailers and pens to carry chickens and rabbits.

“People physically showed up in my yard, ready to load animals. And there were people from everywhere that were ready and just waiting for the word for me to say, ‘Yep, we need to evacuate. Please come and help,’” she said.

“And we had people offering pastures to put the animals in, people who said they would set up round pens in their yard to take some of the animals, and barns to put animals in in case ours burnt down.”

Community members who showed up were able to help Rosborough get their free-range chickens, ducks and turkeys into an enclosed area.

The MNRF crew pitched tents in Rosborough’s yard to monitor the fire overnight and met some of the newborn kids, Rosborough said.

The fire was doused about six times with the water bomber, Rosborough said. It took about 24 hours to be put out and burned about one hectare.

Everyone’s willingness to help is incredibly heartwarming, Rosborough said.

“We had the most amazing outpouring of people just being incredible. They had my back. They had the animal’s backs,” she said.

“I honestly don't think I would have lost a single animal that day. No matter how the fire had progressed.”

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative, TimminsToday.com