LAFARGEVILLE A large fire Friday morning destroyed a dairy barn on Black Creek Road, sending the owner scrambling for a place to milk his cows.
The fire quickly engulfed the structure at 18750 Black Creek Road at about 9:30 a.m., blowing out windows and melting its front.
The barn was on the property of Dale E. Morrow, who used it to house his approximately 150 cows and calves. All the animals were evacuated unharmed.
That was first and foremost, Mr. Morrow said.
The cause of was under investigation, according to Gene-Paul D. Brennan, assistant chief of the LaFargeville Fire Department. He said the structure was being considered a total loss.
Despite the loss of the barn, firefighters were able to save a cluster of nearby structures on the property.
About 10 firetrucks and dozens of firefighters from LaFargeville, Clayton, Depauville, Plessis, Three Mile Bay, Alexandria Bay, Wellesley Island, Theresa, Cape Vincent and Redwood fire departments and a Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service ambulance responded.
Julie A. Hyde, Mr. Morrows girlfriend, said that when she first came to the scene from her home about a quarter-mile away, she was taken aback by the flames and black smoke coming from the barn.
I just stood there glaring at it, she said.
Mr. Brennan said icy road conditions and the rural location of the home initially made it difficult for crews to get water to the scene. A section of Black Creek Road, between Sylvester Road and Route 180, was closed to traffic until about 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Morrow said the damage to the barn meant he needed a new place to house his herd.
Ive got to find a place to milk them by tonight, he said.
He has owned the property since 1971, and has been producing milk to organic standards for six years. Mr. Morrow said the requirements to keep his product labeled organic limited the number of places he could temporarily move his cows.
In the aftermath of the fire, several of Mr. Morrows cows wandered amid the firefighters gazing at the ruins.
For Mr. Morrow, the fire led him to question if he wanted to stay in the dairy business. Talking to a reporter between a barrage of phone calls, Mr. Morrow took a puff of a cigarette and contemplated the future.
Im 62, he said. Do I want to rebuild? I dont know.
Video from the scene can be viewed at http://wdt.me/1220_lafargevillefire.