Barn fire deemed not suspicious in nature

A devastating fire ravaged a 200-foot barn at the Evansdale Dairy Farm Sunday off Headquarters Road, collapsing the building within minutes with livestock inside.

Around 4 p.m., a large black plume of smoke could be seen throughout the Comox Valley just north of Courtenay.

Courtenay Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Kurt MacDonald said both Courtenay and Oyster River fire departments responded to the blaze at the farm – which did not have access to fire hydrants – and the crews had to use their pump trucks.

“Within one-and-a-half minutes of our crew arriving on scene the roof collapsed. At that point we knew it was a different mentality (to fight the fire); we took defensive action to ensure it wouldn’t spread into the nearby brush,” he added.

MacDonald noted more than 20 firefighters responded, and helped to knock down hot spots in the grass. He said the fire continued to smoulder well overnight in to Monday morning, hindering attempts for officials to begin their investigation into the cause until the fire was completely extinguished.

Officials estimate more than 50 cattle were inside the barn when it caught fire.

Witnesses said they saw cows running in a nearby field.

“There’s a group of them running in the back field, and there was one of them that was burnt,” Lynnae Paisley told CTV Vancouver Island.

“(The barn) went super fast. We were down at the beginning of Headquarters and it was smoking a little bit and then we pulled over and we were about to call 9-1-1 and it was full flames – not even within two minutes. And by the time (firefighters) got here, it was gone.”

Comox Valley RCMP confirm several head of livestock were destroyed. They add the preliminary investigation found the fire is