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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Members of the Victoria Police Department, some of whom are shown here observing a moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia, experience stress and potential trauma more than most other workers, says Chief Const. Del Manak. While the number of shifts lost at VicPD are soaring, he sees it as a sign people are taking their own health and wellness seriously. (Black Press Media file photo)
Skyrocketing number of lost shifts at Victoria police has a positive side, chief says

Chief Const. Del Manak says officers, staff being more proactive looking after their mental health

A Seed and Stone rendering for White Rock, B.C. (Seed and Stone rendering)
Songhees Nation to open two Victoria cannabis stores spring 2021

Seed and Stone stores will open on Gordon Street and in the Bay Centre

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested after stealing water taxi, racing it up Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head inmates in Metchosin receive their first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Most Read