Animals perish in early morning barn fire

Animals perish in early morning barn fire

Ten animals died when a barn that was used to teach children caught fire in Ottawa's rural west end Monday morning.

Neighbours called 911 around 5 a.m. to report flames coming from the Quonset hut on the hobby farm on Stonecrest Road.

The structure was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, and by the time the fire was extinguished only the building's steel frame remained.

Ottawa Fire Services spokesperson Danielle Cardinal said a three sheep, three lambs, two goats, a cat and a miniature pony died in the fire.

Sector chief Todd Horricks said one cat managed to escape the fire.

Farm Experience School was run as a day camp for children, Horricks said. The barn housing the animals also contained 200 bales of hay and straw, along with an electrical system to keep water troughs from freezing.

With no hydrants near the rural property, water had to be trucked in to fight the fire.

Firefighters also had to battle extreme cold, with temperatures dipping below –30 with the windchill. Horricks said despite the cold, firefighters didn't encounter problems with equipment freezing.

A firefighter was treated at the scene for minor injuries after slipping on ice.

While the fire was out by 7:30 a.m., firefighters spent the rest of the morning dousing hotspots. Concerned the remaining structure could collapse, they had to wait for heavy machinery to remove the frame before entering.

Horricks said it's been a difficult morning for the family that owns the farm. 

"It's emotional. They certainly have a bond with [the animals]," he said. "It's like family."

CBC News contacted the family and was told they did not want to speak.