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Chenango County Barn Fire Claims Dozens of Cows

By Jason Weinstein.
A Chenango County family is coping with the aftermath of losing dozens of cows after an early-morning barn fire in Afton.

The blaze broke out about one o'clock this morning on State Route 41 just shy of the Broome County line. According to the Afton Fire Department the tin roof of the barn collapsed.

Crews had to use two excavators to get under the rubble to make sure all hot spots were extinguished. Firefighters say road conditions made it difficult to get water and trucks to the fire.

The mother of one of the owners of the farm was one of the first people on scene. She says 71 milking cows died in the fire, but one did escape. That cow is now being treated by a vet. Officials at the Afton Fairgrounds have opened a barn there to house smaller animals who escaped the blaze. A number of heifers were in a different barn on the farm and remain on the property.

"My daughter called me at quarter after one and told me the barn was on fire and for me to come right away. I came up and on my way up I could see where the whole barn was engulfed. They lost 71 cows. They have 72 cows they were milking but one came out," said Beverly Brodoski.

"The loss of any cattle in this particular way is devastating. Certainly it's devastating to the family. It's a loss to the farming community," said Bradd Vickers, President of the Chenango County Farm Bureau.

A family friend helping on scene wanted to thank the fire crews who responded to the blaze. Numerous crews, including Afton, Harpursville, and Bainbridge were still on scene well into the afternoon, more than 14 hours after the fire began. The Assistant Afton Fire Chief says the cause of the fire will remain undetermined due to it starting in the barn.