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UPDATE: Thirty cows lost in Baldwin barn fire

Firefighters and ambulance personnel were on the scene of a barn and silo fire at 2467 90th Ave., Baldwin Friday, May 18. No people were injured as of the firefighters' initial arrival, though it was estimated 25 cows were lost in the fire. Sarah Nigbor / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Heavy smoke and winds made fighting a fire at 2467 90th Ave., Baldwin, difficult Friday, May 18. Sarah Nigbor / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Multiple agencies responded to a barn and silo fire in the town of Baldwin late Friday afternoon, in which United Fire Baldwin Station Chief Gary Newton said 30 cows weren't able to be saved.

"They got out as many as they could," said St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson on the scene at 2467 90th Ave., Baldwin. "We estimate 25 were left in there we couldn't get to."

A neighbor confirmed she called 911 about 4 p.m. when she saw smoke.

Knudson said no injuries were reported at the time of firefighters' arrival, who were battling windy conditions and heavy smoke while fighting the blaze.

"Our main concern was making sure the homeowners and people coming to help weren't involved as well," Knudson said. "They all got out. There were no injuries when I got here. However, because of the heat and smoke, guys working in these conditions ... but as of the initial arrival of fire, there were no injuries."

Property records list the owner as Brian L. Zimmerman. The neighbor said his mother, Barb, also lives on the farm. She also relayed that no young stock were in the barn at the time the fire began, but "the milkers were" and that while she was unsure if there was any hay in the barn, the Zimmermans hadn't cut new hay yet. Cows were milling in a pasture to the west of the barn at about 5:15 p.m. She said some of them may have been cows saved from the barn, though she was unsure.

Law enforcement shut the road down between 240th and 250th streets temporarily as agencies responded, such as United Fire-Baldwin, Hammond and Woodville stations, Hudson, River Falls, Ellsworth, New Richmond, Deer Park, Spring Valley and St. Joseph.

The fire spread very quickly, Newton said.

Newton said the fire was under control within an hour, but it took much longer to fully put out the fire. He said firefighters spent a total of around six hours on the scene.

Newton did not give an estimate of damage costs, but he said the fire destroyed a 40-by-100 foot barn. The fire also damaged two cow sheds that were attached to the barn. Some hay, straw and feed were also ruined.

The cows that could be saved were taken to another farm, and were milked that night.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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