In late November we got toned to a barn on fire in Hardwick Vermont on Rte 15 East, as I get to the scene I quickly noticed that this was a large barn burning.... This ended up being a 6 alarm fire in this small town, it's unfortunate that the owners had 140 cows ""CHAINED"" to 8 X 8 inch lumber in the structure & also had 2 ponies..... The chains that were used were logging chains which are extremely thick & heavy duty, the only way we could free these cows was to use 3 Jaws of Life cutters to cut the chains & slap their asses to rush them out of the barn.... Unfortunately we were only able to rescue 7 cows from the barn, we were trying to get more when the 3 blast of the air horn were sent...
It was about 45 seconds after the horns were sent that the roof of the barn collapsed on to the remaining 133 cows & 2 ponies, I find it really messed up that the 7 cows that were rescued the Hardwick Police decided to shoot the cows 3 times in the head with their 4o caliber hand guns... The officers were quickly stopped when 2 firefighters & my self got between the officers & the cows, the officers hit 3 cows 3 times in the head with their guns.... I guess these officers do not know how to kill a cow by shooting them, each of the 3 cows were shot in the head 3 times & the shots did nothing but pissed the cows off even more!!!
I have been to many fatal events being on the Fire Department & as a driver for Morristown Rescue, do not get me wrong they all suck ass... It's kind of a sad thing to say but once you've been to a few you learn how to deal with it & it's not as bad as the 1st one you go to, this fire however was extremely hard to deal with since you could here the cows suffer as they burned in that fire & the smell was unbelievable!!!

If your department ever gets toned to a barn fire with livestock in the barn I would suggest that if you have any ""probie"" members that they do not go!!!!

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Comment by Greg Gilman on December 21, 2009 at 8:09am
yea those kind of fires suck Ive responded to one myself the farmer lost about 140 cows and alot had to be put down but they called in a local vet to help put the cows down your right the smell is definitely horrid but fortunately we were able to save quite a few of the calves
Comment by Steven on December 17, 2009 at 1:00pm
You know, I've often wondered if there should be an SOP/SOG for handling "farming" type fires where a lot of livestock are involved...

Police shouldn't be there to put down livestock, period. That's the property of the owner of the farm and he/she needs to decide what to do.

If you have a 100+ head of cattle that need to get out of a barn quickly, what is the best way to do that? Who handles it?

You can't do much for livestock that are chained up like that, but there should be some kind of plan. If you have a lot of large farms in your district, I would think you would have pre-planning for most of those farms. If not, why not?

We had a similar fire several years ago, before I joined the department, but I've heard the stories and I know of the farm. I don't know that we have anything pre-planned for such things either.

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