Osceola, Wis. (KMSP) - A community came together to help save livestock from a blazing barn fire at a popular Wisconsin dairy farm.
Troy Derosier was two hours away when his homegrown business—his pride and joy—went up in smoke and flames Thursday.
“This is our source of income,” Derosier said. “This is it. We don’t have anything else. This is our life.”
Derosier and his team built Crystal Ball Farms on the edge of Osceola and grew it into an organic dairy heavyweight over the last two decades.
They sell their products across the upper Midwest, including several Twin Cities area co-ops and coffee shops. Sadly, the fire gutted operations.
Not only did the fire destroy the main barn, it also destroyed the farm’s main source of electricity. The rooftop solar panels on the barn powered everything.
The farm’s creamery manager Jessi Fouks was alerted to the barn fire by someone passing by. With the help of the community, she was able to get the livestock out of the barn.
“I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night; I kept thinking about my girls,” Fouks said as she reflected on the fire.
The girls she referred to are the cows.
Only two perished in the smoky fire thanks to her quick thinking and the help of so many who rushed to the scene to help.
“People stopped to be the fence to keep the cows away from the road—so many people stopped,” Fouks said. “We wouldn’t be able to do it on our own. Cattle would’ve been everywhere. We would have lost way more.”
Derosier said they plan to rebuild the farm, a labor intensive process that he estimated could take six to eight months.
“We have six or seven employees,” he said. “I am hoping to be able to pay them something. They rely on us for their livelihood—they have families too. I want to keep them and I want them back when we get back going again.”