Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Family vows to rebuild destroyed dairy operation

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A DAY after an $8.5-million fire destroyed their dairy operation with several hundred head of cattle, a family was vowing to raise it from the ashes.

Rudolf Hausammann, a dairy farmer with his brother and semi-retired parents near La Broquerie, said Tuesday the operation is insured and they will rebuild.

"It spread so fast. We saw smoke coming out and then there were flames out the top of the building," Hausammann said.

"We couldn't save more animals... we do have very good insurance so our plan is to rebuild. But it will probably take a year or so.

"It's really hard -- we lost 450 cows. It was our milking animals."

Steinbach RCMP said the blaze broke out in the dairy operation in the RM of Ste. Anne at about 6:15 p.m.

RCMP said local fire departments were able to put the fire out, but not before the barn was totally destroyed.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, but RCMP say it is not considered suspicious.

Hausammann said of the 480 cattle in the barn, they were only able to save 30 calves.

"The biggest problem is ventilation in the barn," he said. "Lots of air moves through the barn to help (the cattle) breathe. But that fuelled the fire."

Hausammann said they don't know what sparked the fire in the barn, which was constructed in 1998.

Hausammann said the family began the farm 28 years ago when they came here from Switzerland.

Tracy Bassa, who runs a nearby dairy cattle operation with her husband, Jan, said they already told the Hausammann family that they'll do everything they can to help.

"There will be lots of people who want to help," she said.

"We know, if it was the other way around, they would help us, too."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 5, 2010 A6

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