Frigid Temperatures Hamper Firefighters at Barn Fire - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Frigid Temperatures Hamper Firefighters at Barn Fire

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Updated 2/20 at 6:30PM

Neighbor passing by noticed the flames and let the Dunhams know before it was too late. All of the calves and their mothers were in the barn, many of them pregnant.

Bradley Dunham says by the time his parents got out there the fire was moving fast, "both my dad and me tried on both ends to get those ones in the barn and it was... You open the doors and it was just flames in front of you so there was nothing you could really do."

The oldest barn on the farm was completely destroyed and twelve cattle died. The Dunhams knew they had to focus the fire departments efforts on the next barn over, "I really felt bad for the cows that were in the barn. My priority was to get the fire department out back to save what part we had left." says Dunham.

100 other cows were saved though and with the fire department's quick work, all the other buildings were saved. Which was a huge relief for Dunham, "they could have all been gone right now."

It was below zero Wednesday morning and that's why all the cattle were kept inside. The soon-to-be moms there were checked on every three hours to make sure they were doing all right. But Dunham says it could have been a lot worse if the fire would have happened a few days back in the midst of the blizzard. "This would have been two nights ago, during the storm, it could have been a lot worse."

Because with the roads full of snow, the fire department would have had one heck of a time getting out in the middle of rural Hawley. So as odd as it is to say. Bradley says, there is a little silver lining to this story... Since more often than not... Things can get a whole lot worse.

The fire is still under investigation, but the Dunhams believe it started by a skid steer that was plugged in over night. The Dunhams wanted to make it clear that without the help of the fire departments and their thoughtful neighbor their day would have been much worse! One more positive, the lost barn was covered by insurance.


Original Story


Cold weather forced firefighters to call for backup in rural Hawley, MN Wednesday morning. As fire department's pumper trucks froze up in the cold weather.

A neighbor alerted the rural Hawley, MN homeowner, Warren Dunham, around 3:30 Wednesday morning that his cow barn was on fire.

12 cows (6 adult and 6 calves) were killed in the barn fire. Dunham, was able to get 100 others out the back of the barn.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out quickly, but were delayed tackling hot spots, because trucks and equipment were freezing up.

Crews from Hawley, Hitterdal and Ulen responded to the fire.

Dunham, has had the farm for 40 years and opened up his home and garage to firefighters to keep them warm between shifts.

Dunham, says his skid steer was charging in the barn overnight. He thinks that may have sparked the fire.

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