A firefighter waters down a pair of silos standing next to what remains of Fritz Zens’s barn at Tooth Acres Farm, west of Port Alberni, on July 16, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Fire destroys barn at hobby farm west of Port Alberni

Fire started while farmers at the McCoy Lake Road farm were cutting hay

An Alberni Valley hobby farmer has lost his barn full of hay and farming equipment following a fire on July 16, 2020 that could be seen for kilometres away.

Fire departments from Port Alberni, Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake as well as multiple ambulances responded to the fire at Tooth Acres farm on McCoy Lake Road shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday night. A BC Hydro crew was quickly on scene to cut power to the site. The barn, approximately 30 metres (100 feet) by 15 metres (50 feet), was full of hay that owner Fritz Zens and others had been cutting.

Everyone escaped the barn, Sproat Lake fire Chief Mike Cann said. He didn’t know if any livestock were involved, but a bystander said the cows that are usually on the property were out to pasture. A number of sheep could be seen in a field a few metres away from the barn fire.

“When I got into the barn there were flames everywhere,” said a farmhand who wished to remain anonymous. “I jumped into a tractor to try and get it out of there. By the time I got it in gear, the baler on the back of the tractor was on fire. So I jumped off and ran.”

One person was taken to hospital by ambulance, but no information on the person’s condition was available.

“It’s a total loss,” Cann said. “It definitely was full of hay on this end. I don’t know yet what the rest of the building was. It was bigger than just the hay part.”

Black smoke rolled hundreds of feet into the air, and small explosions could be heard occasionally as parts of the barn fell down.

“We have no hydrants out here, so we had to start tanking water,” Cann explained.

“Sproat Lake has three tanker trucks. We brought in Cherry Creek’s tanker truck and we’ve also got Beaver Creek’s engine hauling water for us.”

More than a dozen loads of water were dumped into the porta-tanks in the first 90 minutes of the fire attack. Pumpers went to nearby hydrants to fill up and would return to the site to fill the porta-tanks by rotation.

Crews will be on scene throughout the night extinguishing the blaze, making sure it doesn’t spread into the grass. “We’ll finish up putting the hay out; it gets a little stubborn at times. We’ll be bringing a machine in and pulling the tin roof back, and busting what’s left of the hay up so we can get it all cold so it’s not an issue.”

McCoy Lake Road will be blocked off from both directions in the 7,400-block and drivers are asked to avoid the area.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Districtfire

 

A barn at Tooth Acres Farm on McCoy Lake Road west of Port Alberni, B.C. was full of hay when it caught fire in the early evening of July 16, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

A barn burned down on a hobby farm on McCoy Lake Road on Thursday, July 16. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

All four Alberni Valley fire departments responded to a barn fire on McCoy Lake Road on Thursday, July 16. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

A barn burned down on a hobby farm on McCoy Lake Road on Thursday, July 16. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Just Posted

Five Vancouver Island First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

Laid-off hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Sand sculptor creates special eagle head in Qualicum Beach

Kaube fashions work behind Civic Centre

VicPD investigating two stabbings after confrontation in Centennial Square

Two men in hospital, one with life-threatening injuries

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Victoria woman attacked while taking photo of dog

Concerned woman pushed to the ground, had phone broken in Victoria park area

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read