Dairy farmer suspects barn fire is 'suspicious'

6:28 PM, Aug 4, 2010   |    comments
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"We don't think it was internal combustion because this hay is old enough that it was all good and dry in there," John Docheff, a dairy farmer, said. "So, I think-well, we have our suspicions, but-I think someone may have done this on purpose, is what they're thinking."

Firefighters say the large fire at the barn, which is between Mead and Longmont, could take days to burn out because of the large size of the structure and the amount of hay inside.

The barn, which is located near Weld County Roads 3 and 66, was engulfed in flames when Mountain View Fire Rescue arrived just before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Docheff says the fire started around 2 a.m. and he got a call about it around 3 a.m.

"I live about a mile straight west of here," Docheff said. "I saw the fire trucks heading this way and that was about 3:28 a.m. and I looked over and I could see the glow coming, and I knew right away that it was something on fire over here, probably the hay barn. Just pretty disheartening, disgusting."

A spokesperson with the department says firefighters were forced to fight the blaze defensively because of its size. He said it could take days to extinguish the fire because the approximately 100-foot by 50-foot barn is filled with hay.

Docheff says there was about 7,000 bales of hay, weighing about 900 tons, inside the structure, which he says would have fed the farm's dairy cows for about a year and a half.

"Unfortunately, those small bales are really hard to come by right now and very expensive," Docheff said. "About $200 a ton right now for that hay."

Also inside the barn were two fairly new pieces of farming equipment, including a front-end loader and a John Deer Windrower.

"Figure about half-million dollars worth of loss is what they're thinking," Docheff said.

The spokesperson says the barn and farm equipment inside are expected to be a total loss. The cause of the fire is not known but a fire investigator has been called to the scene.
Mountain View Fire says no one was injured in the incident.

According to Docheff, the barn is part of a farm owned by his father and has been located in Weld County since 1978. Docheff says his family started farming in Broomfield in 1911, and his nephew is a fifth generation farmer in his family.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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