Barn and half of herd lost in blaze at Ormond dairy farm

At left: The closure at Ormond Road as firefighters battled the fire at Ayrporte Farms. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News At right: The Porteous family dog watches local firefighters dealing with the aftermath of the fire. Courtesy photo by Karen Parker

ORMOND — Half the production herd and the main barn at Ayrporte Farms were lost in a devastating fire here yesterday morning. Local firefighters remained on scene until early Sunday evening, spraying down the burned out wreckage and blackened hay at Ian and Tracy Porteous’s dairy operation on Ormond Rd.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Ian Porteous credited the quick thinking of two of his children — Bruce and Cassidy — as well as neighbours with managing to free half the herd from the burning tie-stall barn with traditional overhead haymow.

“Tracy and I are deeply humbled by everyone reaching out,” wrote Porteous in a “big heartfelt thank you to all,” also noting the outpouring of help from the local agricultural community.

The fire broke out after the owners had travelled off farm, said family friend Karen Parker. “They had just finished milking and had left to go to Russell.”

The surviving cows at Ayrporte — where the family milks a combination of Holstein, Ayrshire and Jersey cattle — have been relocated.

She marvelled at the evident support, growing emotional on behalf of her friends: “The farmers that ran and dropped what they were doing, the firemen that did their jobs … There were farmers sitting up at the Harmony Church for hours with trucks and trailers, waiting to come and haul cattle out of there.”

Firefighters from seven stations battled the fire, she said, with water drawn in from nine stations. A tanker trunk from Thurler Farms also delivered water to the site, Parker added. “The water was coming from every direction.”

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