Firefighters battle barn fire in subzero temperatures, 63 cows dead

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Firefighters battled a barn fire in New Market Township in subzero temperatures Friday morning.

Crews were called to the barn on Xerxes Avenue, just north of 260th Street around 4:30 a.m.

No people were injured, however, the barn contained over 60 cows. Police say 63 cows died as a result of the fire.

“Everything was fine when I left the barn last night, at 7:30 p.m. and  at 4:30 a.m. it was gone,” said Ray Deutsch, the owner of the dairy farm.

Deutsch now looks on in tearful disbelief as part of  the dairy farm where he was born and raised is now unrecognizable. Around 4:30 a.m., a neighbor rang the doorbell to his nearby home, waking up Deutsch and his wife, alerting them their 140 foot long barn was on fire.

“I looked out and it was totally engulfed and the flames were at least as tall as the silo, maybe taller,” said Deutsch.

The barn itself had electricity, but no heat and is now the final resting place where 63 cows, four calves, and three dogs, all died in the blaze.

“Last year we produced 2.25 million pounds of milk, so we had a very good herd of cows. We liked our cows," said Deutsch. “You get very close to your animals because you know them as well as you know your pet. You know your dog, you know your cow. Each one is different has a different personality. They are hardworking cows, they produced a lot of milk for us.”

Deutsch is thankful his younger stock was not in the barn at the time and survived. Plus more than a dozen cows were transported to another farm for milking.

“I can't believe the outpouring from neighbors,” said Deutsch.

Despite having insurance, the owners say they will be scaling back their business after this loss. They will not be rebuilding purely because of their age and the work it takes to keep the dairy farm going.

Several agencies were called in to assist the Elko New Market Fire Department.

New Prague, Prior Lake and Lakeville fire departments assisted with the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and it does not appear to be suspicious.