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Fire destroys hay barn owned by LaClare goat farm

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
No goats were injured in a late evening fire that destroyed a barn used to store hay and straw for LaClare Family Farm in the town of Calumet.

TOWN OF CALUMET - No animals were injured in an overnight fire that destroyed a barn in northeast Fond du Lac County.

Town of Calumet firefighters were called to the report of a barn fire around 11:30 p.m. Monday, June 25, after a passing motorist reported seeing flames coming from a metal barn located at N10469 Highway 151, near the intersection of Hwy. 151 and County Highway HH, said Fond du Lac County Sheriff's officials.

Town of Calumet Fire Chief Brian Schussman told news media the barn was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived on the scene. 

A metal barn at N10469 Highway 151 (located southwest of LaClare Family Creamery) and its contents of hay and straw were a complete loss following an overnight fire in the town of Calumet in northeast Fond du Lac County. The hay barn is owned by LaClare.

The structure is owned by LaClare farms and is located southwest of the the main facility, LaClare Family Creamery, a farmstead that houses over 800 milking goats, retail store, restaurant and cheese plant.

Owner Larry Hedrich said that the barn, used to store hay and straw for the goat farm, was a total loss.

"(The fire) happened at a good time of the year—if there's such a thing. We were almost at the end of our straw and had just stored the first cutting of hay inside," Hedrich said. "We grow a lot of our own hay and straw but we do purchase a certain amount. We will be working with those people to get us back moving today so we can continue on forward."

The exact cause of the fire is unknown but isn't considered suspicious. However, the sheriff's department said it's suspected that wet hay may have contributed to the ignition.

Hedrich said the 800 plus milking goats at the farm escaped harm, including smoke inhalation.

Hay and straw used by the goats at LaClare Family Farm in the town of Calumet were destroyed in a barn fire Monday night. The animals, however, were unharmed.

"Everything was as good as it could be; the smoke blew away from local houses and barn and the cheese plant, which is a ways away," Hedrich said. "As far as bad things happening, it happened in a good way."

A MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) page summoned the help from nearly 20 fire departments, first responders and law enforcement agencies in Calumet and Fond du Lac Counties. Most were called to the scene to help transport water for the fire.

Firefighters remained on the scene until 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 26.

USATODAY NETWORK - Wisconsin contributed to this report.