By Connor Lynch
VANKLEEK HILL — A fire on a North Glengarry farm destroyed 26 beef cattle and a half-dozen horses last month.
The fire broke out in the wee hours of May 3 on the D’Aoust Rd. farm, about 20 minutes south of Vankleek Hill. Rose Huxted, who takes care of horses on her stepfather’s cash crop and beef operation, was woken up by her 8-year-old son at about 2:45 a.m. The window in his room faces the barn.
“Mummy,” he said, “the barn’s on fire.” By the time Huxted was downstairs, the fire was too intense to get close.
The blaze consumed the barn and the animals inside, including the farm’s entire 26-head beef herd and six horses. There were about 15 horses outside that weren’t harmed, nor did the flames reach any of the nearby buildings.
North Glengarry Fire Chief Patrick Gauthier said about 50 firefighters responded to the call. “It was a large barn.”
Firefighters from the two detachments, North Glengarry and Champlain township, were on scene until about 11 a.m. The barn had collapsed and the hay inside continued to smoulder. “The hay is usually the problem at the end. It keeps smoking for hours and hours.”
Huxted, who farms with her stepfather and mother, Wayne and Linda Lothian, said that they would be rebuilding the barn, and that it was insured. “Too many kids depend on that barn, as a safe place to make memories and enjoy family time. We’ll figure out a way to rebuild.”
A horsemanship contest that Huxted had started planning back in November turned into an impromptu fundraiser for the family.
A benefit dance with local band Fridge Full Of Empties was planned for June 14 at the St. Bernardin Hall at 8 p.m. Donations will be accepted at the door.