Local News

Over 200 Calves Perish in Fire

(Middlebury, IN) - More than 240 calves died in a fire at an Amish farm in northern Indiana.

Miraculously, perhaps, 29 of the calves inside the 200-foot long barn destroyed by the flames survived practically without a scratch.


Middlebury Fire Department Capt. Corey Wortinger said the cause of the August 5 blaze in the 59000 block of Indiana 13 remained under investigation. Wortinger said a man and members of his family were working inside the barn when the fire about 4:30 p.m. somehow ignited.


He said flames had pretty much engulfed the concrete block and wood structure with a metal roof when firefighters arrived several minutes later. “It went fast,” Wortinger said.


Wortinger said firefighters with hoses were about halfway into the footprint of the collapsed structure when they saw movement in the rubble now just smoldering for the most part. 

The surviving calves were underneath sheets of metal from the fallen roof and other debris cleared by an excavator brought in to reach the animals. The calves were taken out of their cages and carried to a nearby barn.


“They were actually in pretty good shape other than probably being stressed out real bad with the smoke and the heat and everything going on,” Wortinger said.


Wortinger said the surviving calves were on the west side of the 70 foot wide and 50 foot tall building.


They were likely protected from winds coming out of the west bringing them fresh air while pushing the smoke and heat toward the other side of the structure.


“I think they happened to be in a lucky spot,” he said.


About 50 firefighters were at the scene for about four hours.


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