Dairy barn burns to the ground in Leyden


LEYDEN, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The father of a dairy farmer stands in the cold, watching the source of his son's livelihood burn to the ground.

"I hate to see him go through this, but what are you going to do, you know? It just seems like he hasn't had anything go too good for him in a while," said Art Bailey.

The frigid morning temperatures froze the milk pump at a dairy farm in Leyden. The owner decided put an electric heater next to it.

"He was back and forth up in the barn and back and forth and the last time he went down to check on it the whole wall of the barn was on fire there," said Bailey.

Using a sledgehammer, they freed 30 cows trapped behind a frozen door. Soon after, trucks, tankers, and cars of volunteer firefighters lined Golden Road. Dealing with frozen hydrants, they tried to speed up the process by using dump tanks, but the most challenging part was getting the cows out of the barn.

"Cattle are kind of unusual. That's their home and you try to take them out they try go right back in again. They don't realize the fire and everything. They try to go right back in," said Boonville fire chief, David Pritchard.

They were able to get the cows into a secured area and now they're loading them into a truck to take them to another farm. But one was left behind. Already sick, she'll likely have to be euthanized after inhaling too much smoke. As the rest of the herd is trucked away, their home is torn to the ground. It's the only way to access the hay bales full of hot spots. For the farmer's mother-in-law, the sight is too much to bare.

"It's devastation. He can't catch a break- he's had Parkinson's since he was 27, just had brain surgery in September," said Catherine Podkowka.

Though grateful no one was hurt, now they're left asking what's next.

"I don't know, I don't know," said Podkowka.

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