By Connor Lynch
WESTMEATH — By the time firefighters arrived, the barn was completely destroyed and dairy farmer Leo Laderoute had already shot many of his cows trapped inside the burning barn. He had to shoot others that made it out alive.
A fire tore through the Renfrew County barn on Jan. 27, destroying most of the 160 Holsteins. Only 12 cows, 20 heifers, and 2 calves made it out alive and were healthy enough not to shoot.
The Ontario Fire Marshall is investigating. The fire is not believed to be suspicious. The barn and the herd were both insured.
Laderoute told Farmers Forum that he will rebuild. “I’m 61. I’ll milk cows until the day I die.”
The fire was called in by a neighbour. Laderoute, who lives about 1.5 kilometres from the barn, was helping another neighbour set up a Coverall structure. He arrived at about 3 p.m. to find his barn fully engulfed in flames.
A GoFundMe page, an online fundraising website, was set up to help the family. As of Jan. 31, it had raised $6,040 of its $10,000 goal.