By Connor Lynch
ASHTON — After sitting unused for eight years, the former Ross AgriStore burned down last month.
The former feed mill east of Carleton Place was once a hub for farmers in the area. The high tower, easily visible from Highway 7, was a local landmark for as long as it stood.
Area dairy farmer Amanda O’Connell remembered going with her grandma to pick up supplies. The farm’s feed truck would regularly head down to pick up feed and get fertilizer. If you farmed in the area, she said, Ross AgriStore was where you went.
The Ottawa police arson unit is considering it a suspicious fire. Since the old feed mill was sold to a numbered company eight years ago, the property has sat largely abandoned and unused.
The Ross family, which owns a Pioneer dealership in Carp, just west of Ottawa, sold the mill when they were downsizing their operations, said Pamela Ross. She remembered selling a lot of horse feed in the area, as well as fencing and a lot of bird seed. “It was a big business,” she said. But the number of farms started to dwindle and the Rosses decided to downsize by selling off the mill.
The fire that destroyed the mill couldn’t have picked a worse day. The Ottawa-area was pushing 40 C with the humidity, and it was a hot fire, said O’Connell. “A water truck went by every five minutes going to Carleton Place to get water.”