It was business as usual Tuesday for Clohossey Farms’ co-owner Barry Clohossey. He was out delivering vegetables to stores the day after he and his wife Darlene lost their machinery storage building to a massive fire.
“My customers have to eat; we have to eat,” he reasoned.
The Clohosseys had already turned in for the night when a passerby alerted them that the barn, right across the farm driveway from their house, was on fire. They don’t know how it started and, judging by the extent of the damage, Clohossey wonders if a cause can even be determined. An investigator with the Fire Marshal’s office was on scene Monday night.
“We lost all our tractors, our snow removal equipment; we lost all our planting equipment,” said Clohossey. “Unfortunately, we decided to keep all our machinery in to keep it in good shape. That didn’t work,” he reflected.
His farm operates a roadside vegetable stand in Nail Pond and also supplies local stores.
He said he expects the farm will be putting in a vegetable crop as usual, come spring.
“Darlene and I haven’t had time to sit down and talk about anything yet,” he said Tuesday. “We’re kind of… I guess we’re in the rebuilding stage right now. There’s a lot of stuff going through our minds. I would expect it will be business as usual.”
Clohossey said everything in the storage building was destroyed and some of the equipment in an attached building is also damage. That building, he said, suffered structural damage which still has to be assessed.
The building that was reduced to rubble was the last of the farm’s original farm buildings. It was originally a dairy barn. He’s been on the farm all his life and his father and his grandfather ran it before him. The Clohosseys said they have property insurance.
The Tignish Fire Department answered the fire call right around 11 p.m. and called in the Miminegash and Alberton departments for back-up. Collectively, they poured about 35,000 gallons of water on the fire.
“She was pretty well down when we got there,” Tignish fire chief Allan Gavin described the extent of the damage to the storage barn when firefighters arrived. He said the fire was already starting to follow the roofline of an adjacent barn. They were hampered in their efforts by strong wind. “We were lucky it didn’t catch into the other barn because, with that wind, a little bit of air and she was done,” he said. Firefighters were on scene for approximately four hours and Tignish was called back Tuesday morning to douse a flare-up.
Clohossey said the water helped spare the farm’s warehouses and greenhouses of structural damage. He still needs to break through the ice buildup on doors to assess for smoke damage to other buildings.