Goulds barn fire was 'terrifying,' as community effort kicks in to help rebuild

·2 min read
Dairy farmer Crosbie Williams was on the scene of the blaze Monday night, and says the community is coming together to help farmer Michael Dinn through the tragedy. (CBC - image credit)
Dairy farmer Crosbie Williams was on the scene of the blaze Monday night, and says the community is coming together to help farmer Michael Dinn through the tragedy. (CBC - image credit)

Crosbie Williams is no stranger to barn fires, having lost a family farm years ago, but seeing Woodland Dairy's building in the Goulds engulfed in flames Monday night has stayed with him in the days since.

"When you see the home for the cows go up in smoke and the cattle as well — there's no other way to say it, except it's absolutely terrifying, in every aspect. And it changes somebody from that day on," Williams, who runs nearby Pondview Farms, said.

The blaze ripped through the barn, killing scores of cows — Williams estimated about 60 to 90 total perished — with little left of the structure, which he called "a complete loss." Williams was on the scene, which he said was "chaos," as more than 20 firefighters and volunteers spent hours getting the fire under control.

The aftermath has rocked its owner, Michael Dinn and his family, he said.

"As you can imagine, they're all over the place right now, it's been an extremely difficult time," Williams told CBC Radio's On The Go Wednesday.

Dinn was relatively new on the dairy scene, said Williams, with about six years of farming under his belt after starting in the field through the industry's new entrant program.

"He was doing a phenomenal job," Williams said.

Dinn had been working hard to develop his land, and Williams hopes that the fire, as devastating as it was, can be put in the past.

"It's been said to me that he has plans to rebuild, and I hope he does. Michael Dinn's an extremely hard worker," Williams said.

In the days since the blaze, online fundraisers and other supports have popped up, as friends and the agriculture community come together to help bridge any gaps Dinn may be facing.

"That's our hope, and I will certainly support him in any way that we can, and you know, it's my hope that this continues for him," he said.

Williams said memories of his own family's barn fire of 1968 came flooding back as he saw Monday's fire, and he knows of many other farmers who feel the same.

"It brings everything back. Absolutely terrible," he said.

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