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Fire destroys Amish family farm

MINDEN — An Amish barn, home and business were completely destroyed by a midday fire Wednesday that left a roughly seven-member family uninjured, although several horses and dogs perished in the western Montgomery County blaze.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Rick Sager said today the fire broke out at an Amish farm at 11:20 a.m. Wednesday in the town of Minden.

“It was a very large barn,” Sager said.

The South Minden Volunteer Fire Department was the lead response agency.

South Minden Fire Chief Mike Smith said this morning that the fire occurred at an “L-shaped” structure at 188 Tanners Road.

He said it destroyed an unnamed Amish family’s cow barn with a pole barn attached, as well as their house. He said the couple — and their children — escaped unharmed but the scene was chaotic upon arrival by firefighters.

“The whole structure was fully involved,” Smith said. “One end of the structure collapsed.”

Smith verified that four horses, as well as several dogs perished in the fire. A bystander’s report said dozens of dogs and puppies died in the blaze.

The chief said it is believed the fire started when the Amish residents were using a pressure washer which caught some hay on fire.

He said the family had a food production business at the site that was licensed.

“They had a bakery and they produced chickens,” Smith said.

Smith said it took about four hours to get the fire under control, although everything was destroyed. He said the South Minden Volunteer Fire Department received mutual aid from fire companies in the western part of Montgomery County that included: Fort Plain, Canajoharie, Ames, Cherry Valley and Springfield.

Smith said firefighters — none of whom were injured — had some problems getting water to the site. Eventually, he said fire companies were able to access a nearby pond for water.

The chief said the family victimized by the fire started getting immediate help from their nearby Amish community on Wednesday afternoon and were salvaging tin and rebuilding this morning.

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