Fire destroys a large hay barn on Vienna Line in Malahide, October 11, 2018. Photo courtesy of Marc Cerna.

Elgin barn fires causes $3M in damage

Damage is estimated at $3-million after fire tore through a large hay barn south of Aylmer, sending one person to hospital.

Malahide firefighters were called to the blaze on Vienna Line, east of Hacienda Road just before 11:15 p.m. Thursday. When crews arrived on scene, just four minutes after the initial call, the barn was already fully engulfed in flames.

“It was extraordinarily tricky to battle this fire because of its sheer size, magnitude, heat and with the barn being completely full of hay,” said Brent Smith, director of fire and emergency services for Malahide Township. “We had lots of combustibles and complete free burn of the structure. It’s obviously a rural area, so being able to ration our water was also difficult and it was completely surrounded by a dry cornfield that started to ignite at times during the fire.”

Firefighters and water tankers from four neighbouring municipalities — Southwold, Central Elgin, Bayham, and Brownsville — were brought in to help extinguish the blaze.

“There will be hot spots for days because of the quantity of hay that was inside the barn,” said Smith. “We have two excavators on site that are pulling apart the hay and we are extinguishing it as we go along.”

It is believed there were roughly 4,000 hay bales inside the barn when it went up in flames.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted because of the value of the content destroyed, but has opted not to attend the scene.

One person was taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation and has since been treated and released.