By Connor Lynch
DOUGLAS — A beef farmer might be forgiven for trying to keep a fresh calf warm with a heat lamp when the temperature dropped to nearly -30 C with the wind chill.
But it’s a decision that might have cost a Renfrew-area farmer deeply. A fire broke out on Henning Thomssen’s cow-calf farm on Jan. 15, destroying a barn with most of his purebred Charolais herd inside. The farm is at 537 Reid Rd. in the township of Admaston/Bromley, just west of Renfrew.
Neither the animals nor the barn were insured, Thomssen said. Damage was estimated at about $200,000.
A neighbour called in the blaze at about 1 p.m., just after Thomssen went into his house for lunch. By the time fire services from Renfrew and nearby Douglas arrived, the fire had fully engulfed the barn.
Thomssen lost two-thirds of his herd, 40 of his 60 purebred animals, as well as his working tractor, an older model, and the hay barn attached to his main barn.
He had no plan for the future, whether to rebuild or not. For the moment, he’s taking it day by day, dealing with the aftermath of the fire. “You deal with it. You hang in there.”