Salisbury farmer's livelihood destroyed after barn fire

By Gary Liberatore

(WKTV) - Craig Spofford was awakened around 4 a.m. Sunday to the sound of his family's barn on fire. 

Inside that barn:, 200 dairy cows.

"By the time I got here the whole front was down.  I  ran around trying to get the door open, but...."

Spofford held back tears Monday, telling NewsChannel 2, his cows were like pets to he and his family, and it was quite devastating for him personally to run out to the barn and know there was nothing he could do to save them.

"They wouldn't come out of the barn. They stayed there by the door and wouldn't come out."

The Spofford's Peaceful Acres farm is on Daley Road in Salisbury, not far from the Salisbury Fire Department.

Salisbury Fire Chief David Scheuermen says six other fire departments were called in to assist, and every truck and every firefighter was needed to put out the fire and save about a quarter of the barn and 50 of Spofford's cows.

Scheuermen says he and many of his firefighters know the Spofford family and two firefighters   actually worked at the farm for years.  He says having that inside knowledge of knowing the layout of the property helped the effort to put out the blaze.

 "Very helpful because they knew where to go, they knew what to do," he said.

Scheuermen says the narrow driveway leading into the barn area made it difficult for fire trucks to get close to the scene, so between 2,500 and 3,000 feet of hose was used.  He also says the winds made things difficult.  Because of the strong winds, the fire had to be fought from the backside, and firefighters had to get back to that area by walking through 6 to 12 inches of mud, which developed after the recent heavy rains.

Scheuermen says one Salisbury firefighter was taken to Little Falls Hospital for a shoulder injury.

"In the front by the milking parlor in the very beginning, a beam came down and landed on him," Scheuermen said. "Thank God it was only the shoulder."

Scheuermen says the investigation into the cause is ongoing, but does believe it was started in the milking parlor area, which is where all of the electrical outlets are.

Spofford says he does have farm insurance but because of the price of cows these days, he believes he will not be reimbursed enough to cover his full loss.

As far as the future of the Peaceful Acres Farm, a farm in his family for three generations and the last working dairy farm in Salisbury, Spofford said , "we'll just wait and see."

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