By Tim Kowols
Shaun Hardtke was 15 years old when his family barn caught fire and lost the entire herd, so the decision to help his neighbor in Red River in a time of need was easy. Late Friday evening, firefighters from 12 different departments fought a multiple alarm fire at a barn owned by Mark and Rachel LeCaptain into the early morning hours. The barn is a complete loss and according to the Luxemburg Fire Department, approximately 30 animals perished in the fire. However, crews were able to save other structures on the farm and a barn at Casco's Kinnard Farms is now home to the approximately 100 cows that were able to be saved. Over sixteen years after going through the heartbreak of a barn fire himself, Hardtke says it is an honor to pay it forward.
Hardtke says it takes an extra two to three hours a day to switch cows in and out so they can be milked, but adds it is just what you do in a time of need. Crews required 20 tender trucks, three fill sites, and nine hours to extinguish the blaze.
Photo by Shaun Hardtke