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Sep-05-2009 01:30printcomments

3-Alarm Barn Fire in Harrisburg Will Burn All Night - INCREDIBLE PHOTOS

One man, later joined by two others, freed trapped cattle burning alive in the blaze.

barn fire
All photos by Dennis Weis, Tangent Fire Dept.

(HARRISBURG, Ore.) - Firefighters from Harrisburg are on the scene of a massive three-alarm fire that started around 7:00 p.m. at Cartney Drive and Powerline Road in Harrisburg Oregon.

Dennis Weis, Photographer/Firefighter with the Tangent Fire Department, recorded this incredible series of photographs that show the intensity of the fire at the R.M. Cook Farms hay barn in Harrisburg, and the efforts of the firefighters from six agencies that responded to assist.

They expected to be on scene all night, Weis said, as the large supply of fire fuel in the form of hay will require sufficient time to run its course.

The hay barn on the R.M. Cook Farms, is described as a large, 43,000 square foot hay and cattle barn. It is unclear at this point exactly how much hay was inside of the building.

Cattle Burning Alive

Rob Fisher of Junction City, Oregon wrote to Salem-News.com early Saturday morning, explaining that he was the first person there who saw the cows running around in the fire. He says he immediately began to open the gates.

"I just got the first pins pulled on the northern gate but the cow burst into flames right before it could escape. The next gate I got open and the cows got away."

He says the next gate was too hot to open at first. Fortunately, other people arriving at the fire offered their help.

"A couple other guys showed up and one gave me his shirt so I could cover up enough to get to the pins. I managed to get the pins out but the gate wouldn't open outward because of a concrete block in front of it. One cow was stuck between the bars half way. I don't think it survived. The other guys opened the other gates."

He says a firefighter yelled at the men and instructed them to leave, but Fisher pleaded with him to open the last gate so the cows could be spared from burning alive.

"Just then, the cows managed to push through the concrete block and escape. I felt so relieved. It was very intense but I was amazed no one else had stopped sooner."

Fisher says the building was completely engulfed from one end to the other and the cows were running in the fire slamming against the gates to get out.

"My skin is still tender from the burns from the intense heat. If I couldn't take it for more than a second, Imagine how the cows felt staying in there for minutes! I hope the cows are doing OK. I know if we hadn't stopped they would ALL have burned to death."

The 6 Fire Stations that responded to the call to assist Harrisburg Fire, came from Halsy, Junction City, Coberg, Brownsville and Tangent. Five fire engines and six water tenders, along with 25 firefighters are working the fire, Weis said.

Here is the slideshow of the photos taken Friday night by Dennis Weis:




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