Fire at Laurens barn leaves animals dead

Julie Lewis | The Daily StarFirefighters work at the scene of a barn fire on state Route 205 in Laurens on Friday.

About 100 firefighters from 12 departments responded to a fire that destroyed a barn and killed some animals on state Route 205 in the town of Laurens this morning, the Laurens fire chief said.

No one was hurt, Laurens Fire Chief Dana Weygand said late Friday afternoon.

Firefighters used 15 tankers to shuttle water from the creek to the fire scene, Weygand said. At first, crews used the Laurens village hydrant system to get water until they broke through 18 inches of ice on the Otego Creek to access water, he said.

The barn couldn't be saved, as it was engulfed in flames when the first crews arrived, Weygand said.

Blocks of a nearby silo also burned, he said, but crews saved a nearby residential trailer.

Weygand said Wilbur Allen owns the property but no longer lives there. The barn previously had been part of a working dairy farm, the chief said.

Some chickens, cows, pigs and turkeys were in the unheated barn and unknown number perished, according to Weygand, who said he didn't know who owned the animals or who lived in the trailer.

Weygand said he didn't know the cause of the blaze or its origins, though he speculated it was electrical. Otsego County fire officials are investigating the fire, he said.

Crews were logging back into service at the Laurens station at about 4:15 p.m., Weygand said. The fire will smolder for a while because there was hay in the barn, he said.

As firefighters fought the blaze Friday morning, white smoke billowed into the sky.

Crews were called to 1905 State Route 205 after a motorist passing by reported seeing a fire to Otsego County at about 9:30 a.m., officials said.

Many fire trucks were parked on Route 205, which was closed to traffic.

Weygand said the 11 Laurens firefighters responding were supported with mutual aid from West Laurens, Mount Vision, Hartwick, Hartwick Seminary, Milford, Oneonta, West Oneonta, Otego, Wells Bridge, Cooperstown and Middlefield fire departments.

"Thanks to the mutual aid crews who came to help," Weygand said. "We wouldn't have been able to do it without them."