Late night blaze destroys milking barn near Reynoldsville; neighbors rally to help

Fire destroyed the milking barn at the Mowrey Sprucelawn Farm along Hormtown Road overnight. The farm is owned by Duaine and Craig Mowrey and families.

Reports indicate that Dennis Clontz of Reynoldsville noticed smoke coming from the area and investigated. Upon discovering the blaze, he alerted fire officials. The alarm came into the Reynoldsville Fire Department at 10:50 p.m.

Karen Mowrey, who was unaware of the fire until alerted, said the front of the barn was engulfed in flames as she came out her door. She also said her neighbors, the Knessel Family, managed to get most of the cows out of the barn before units arrived. In fact, all of the cows were saved.

Reynoldsville Fire Chief Darren Scolese said nine units from the area responded to help put out the blaze. They included volunteers from Brockway, Brady Township, Warsaw Township, Falls Creek, Sandy Township, Pine Creek Township, DuBois, Sykesville, and Brookville.

Using a tanker shuttle system from two different locations, the firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the milking barn and save the surrounding structures.

“We had no problem with water,” Scolese said.

Bales of straw were separated to bring the blaze under control

The barn contained some 1000 bails of hay, hampering firefighting efforts, but a Reynoldsville volunteer firemen, Audie Geer, got his excavator and was able to spread the hay out so it could be doused with water.

Along with the milking barn, several pieces of equipment were also damaged.

Fire units were on scene until 1:30 this morning.

A State Police Fire Marshall is investigating the cause, but Chief Scolese said he believes it was accidental. He set damage estimates at $350,000.

The Mowrey Family is now presented with a problem- how to milk their cows. Neighbors have stepped up and moved the cows to a nearby farm so they can be milked and housed temporarily while clean up work begins.

“We have good people in Jefferson County,” Mowrey said.

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