Most of the Samuelson family farm animals were safely evacuated during a barn fire in Blakeley Township on Monday, April 19, though several chickens were killed in the incident on the 23000 block of Oakcrest Trail.
First responders arrived on scene around 2:40 p.m. on Monday, less than 10 minutes after the initial call was placed, according to barn owner Robert Samuelson.
Responding agencies were the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Belle Plaine Fire Department, New Prague Fire Department, Jordan Fire Department, and the Belle Plaine Police Department.
“If it wouldn’t have been for them getting here as quickly as they did, it would have been a complete loss,” he said.
The first responders completely extinguished the fire and prevented it from spreading to the hay barn. Most of the animals including donkeys, cows, and pigs were evacuated safely.
“A majority of the animals are able to go in and out of the barn to get out to the pasture,” he said. “There were only a handful of them that were really trapped inside and the fire department was able to get them out.”
Samuelson said it’s possible the fire started when a baby chick knocked over a heat lamp in the brooder house, though he can’t be completely sure at this time.
“The floor of the brooder house is all intact minus one hole in the middle of the floor which would have been about where the heat lamp was,” he said.
No foul play is suspected and the exact cause of the fire is under investigation. The Scott County Sheriff’s Office and Belle Plaine Fire Department are investigating.
“We are thankful that there were no injuries to the owners of the barn or first responders,” said Sheriff Luke Hennen. “Our thoughts are with the family as they recover from the damage to their barn and the loss of their animals.”
Samuelson said there is damage to the exterior of the barn, but he believes there are no major structural issues at this time.