Farmer pays it forward after Red River barn fire

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

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