A farm in the North Country is recovering after an intense fire ruined everything and killed dozens of animals.
Burch Family Farm has stood in Fort Ann for nearly 30 years, but after a devastating fire on Sunday afternoon, little remains.
One hundred farm animals were killed in the fire. Owner Richard Burch is now trying to move forward.
“I feel bad about the animals but things happen,” he said.
Burch was working in the barn on Sunday afternoon when he noticed the flames.
“I ran and got a fire extinguisher,” he said. “There was a hose some pigs were using, and I cut that off to get water.”
Smoke was pouring from the large barn, but Burch was focused on getting his animals out alive.
“They were all screaming and laying down trying to get out of the heat,” he said. “That thing was hot.”
His daughter also tried to release the mill cows into the pasture.
“She opened the gate and put them out that way, but they ran back,” he said. “But she got out and didn’t get hurt.”
Nothing could save the animals. Some piglets were able to squeeze out. At least two are still on the loose. Burch said the work to rebuild now begins.
“It’s all gone,” he said. “We don’t have no insurance, but we’re tough. But we’ll go on and clean it up and start over.”
He said farming is in his blood, and at 71 years old, he doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon.
“Just sit in a chair waiting to die – I don’t want to do that,” he said. “I rather die out here on a tractor.”
The surviving pigs are being kept in his daughter’s barn, and Burch put most of the surviving milk cows up for auction.
Burch said the farm suffered a fire about 20 years ago. They rebuilt then and plan to do the same now.
“We work hard to keep this place, so we’re not going to give it up,” Burch said.
Although most of the farm is still blackened and burned, some things were able to remain untouched. Burch said he’ll use those things to find a way to move forward.