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P.E.I. grower begins rebuilding days after a fire tears through his barn

P.E.I. grower begins rebuilding days after a fire tears through his barn

Barry Clohossey lost all of his equipment in the blaze

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

A producer from Prince County, P.E.I. can’t afford to let a barn fire slow him down.

“I’ve got nothing to work with right now,” Barry Clohossey, who produces potatoes, strawberries and other vegetables, told today. “But we have to make sure the crop goes in on time. If it doesn’t, that could affect us for many years down the road.”

Around 11 p.m. on Monday, a neighbour alerted Barry and his wife Darlene that their barn was on fire. The blaze destroyed the building in less than an hour, Clohossey said.

The destruction is so severe the fire marshal can’t determine a cause. And insurance won’t cover the full financial losses, he added.

The fire destroyed all of Clohossey’s specialized vegetable equipment, including planters, weeders and cultivators, that he’s accumulated over 20 years. He had modified all of this equipment to suit his operation’s needs.

The aftermath of a barn fire on Barry Clohossey's farm.
Photo: Barry Clohossey/CBC

Clohossey has already started to make phone calls to acquire replacement equipment.

“A local New Holland dealer is supplying us with a tractor that we can use until we get something permanent. That’s on its way here now,” he said. “Another equipment dealer has some of what we need, so we’ll get that machinery too.”

Cleanup crews are also on scene. When they’re finished, the rebuilding process begins.

“The demolition crew is here grading (the ground) and picking up more debris,” Clohossey said. “It should be about another day or so and then we’ll start on a plan for a new barn.”

Some of last year’s harvest is stored in another barn, which means his customers won’t be affected by the fire, he said.

Barn fires in 2017

At least four fires occurred on Prince Edward Island farms last year.

On Jan. 4, a fire in New Glasgow, P.E.I. destroyed a barn, a motor home, and a small cottage. It also killed some chickens. The fire marshal determined a heat lamp used to keep the chickens warm started the fire.

On Jan. 19, a barn in Elmsdale P.E.I. burned down as a result of poorly discarded embers, according to the fire marshal.

On Aug. 24, a fire destroyed a barn and two tractors in Hunter River, P.E.I.

And a Nov. 29 fire destroyed a barn and a feed mixer on a dairy farm in Foxley River, P.E.I., No animals were hurt in the fire and the cause is unknown.

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