A barn burned down on a hobby farm on McCoy Lake Road on Thursday, July 16. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

A barn burned down on a hobby farm on McCoy Lake Road on Thursday, July 16. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Fire destroys barn at Vancouver Island hobby farm

Fire started while farmers at the farm west of Port Alberni were cutting hay

An Alberni Valley hobby farmer has lost his barn full of hay and farming equipment following a fire on July 16, 2020 that could be seen for kilometres away.

Fire departments from Port Alberni, Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake as well as multiple ambulances responded to the fire at Tooth Acres farm on McCoy Lake Road shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday night. A BC Hydro crew was quickly on scene to cut power to the site. The barn, approximately 30 metres (100 feet) by 15 metres (50 feet), was full of hay that owner Fritz Zens and others had been cutting.

Everyone escaped the barn, Sproat Lake fire Chief Mike Cann said. He didn’t know if any livestock were involved, but a bystander said the cows that are usually on the property were out to pasture. A number of sheep could be seen in a field a few metres away from the barn fire.

“When I got into the barn there were flames everywhere,” said a farmhand who wished to remain anonymous. “I jumped into a tractor to try and get it out of there. By the time I got it in gear, the baler on the back of the tractor was on fire. So I jumped off and ran.”

One person was taken to hospital by ambulance, but no information on the person’s condition was available.

“It’s a total loss,” Cann said. “It definitely was full of hay on this end. I don’t know yet what the rest of the building was. It was bigger than just the hay part.”

Black smoke rolled hundreds of feet into the air, and small explosions could be heard occasionally as parts of the barn fell down.

“We have no hydrants out here, so we had to start tanking water,” Cann explained.

“Sproat Lake has three tanker trucks. We brought in Cherry Creek’s tanker truck and we’ve also got Beaver Creek’s engine hauling water for us.”

More than a dozen loads of water were dumped into the porta-tanks in the first 90 minutes of the fire attack. Pumpers went to nearby hydrants to fill up and would return to the site to fill the porta-tanks by rotation.

Crews will be on scene throughout the night extinguishing the blaze, making sure it doesn’t spread into the grass. “We’ll finish up putting the hay out; it gets a little stubborn at times. We’ll be bringing a machine in and pulling the tin roof back, and busting what’s left of the hay up so we can get it all cold so it’s not an issue.”

McCoy Lake Road will be blocked off from both directions in the 7,400-block and drivers are asked to avoid the area.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Districtfire

 

A barn burned down on a hobby farm on McCoy Lake Road on Thursday, July 16. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

A barn burned down on a hobby farm on McCoy Lake Road on Thursday, July 16. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

A firefighter waters down a pair of silos standing next to what remains of Fritz Zens’s barn at Tooth Acres Farm, west of Port Alberni, on July 16, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

A firefighter waters down a pair of silos standing next to what remains of Fritz Zens’s barn at Tooth Acres Farm, west of Port Alberni, on July 16, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

A barn at Tooth Acres Farm on McCoy Lake Road west of Port Alberni, B.C. was full of hay when it caught fire in the early evening of July 16, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

A barn at Tooth Acres Farm on McCoy Lake Road west of Port Alberni, B.C. was full of hay when it caught fire in the early evening of July 16, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

A firefighter waters down a pair of silos standing next to what remains of Fritz Zens’s barn at Tooth Acres Farm, west of Port Alberni, on July 16, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

A firefighter waters down a pair of silos standing next to what remains of Fritz Zens’s barn at Tooth Acres Farm, west of Port Alberni, on July 16, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Just Posted

The award-winning design honouring Cumberland Fire Rescue has been one of the ways the Cumberland Events Society has marked its usual May long weekend celebrations. It is also crowning a new May Queen this year. Photo supplied
Cumberland to crown new May Queen — finally

May long weekend organizers also honour fire department’s history

The CF Snowbirds in action. (Erin Haluschak photo)
Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

Capt. Arpit Mahajan flies Snowbird 2 in his first year as a solo pilot with the team

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North is accepting homeownership applications for its next build. Photo supplied
Habitat for Humanity prepares for next build in Courtenay

A forever home for some, a step forward for others

The development permit application for the back of a property at 2522 Dunsmuir Ave has now been approved by council. Record file photo
Cumberland approves secondary home permit second time around

Mayor Leslie Baird said the applicant’s additional drawings provided more info for her

This house at 1514 Trumpeter Cres. is currently for sale, with a disclaimer that the property was used for a cannabis grow operation in the past. Photo by Record staff
Drug trafficking at Courtenay residence nets over $250K forfeiture

Ruling comes from a search warrant executed in 2016 on Trumpeter Crescent home

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
Coquitlam teacher suspended after calling students ’cutie, ‘’sweetheart’ in online messages

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Needles, feces and the unhoused send Island kids baseball program to greener pastures

Campbell River minor baseball program switches ballparks over growing safety concerns

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Most Read