RUTLAND Nearly 90 head of cattle were lost in an early morning fire Wednesday on the dairy farm of John D. and Helen K. Garvin, 21149 Staplin Road.
The structure was nearly fully engulfed when the blaze was discovered at about 4 a.m. by Mr. Garvin, a county fire investigator said.
One cow survived. The fire was so advanced that Mr. Garvin and firefighters had no chance to attempt an evacuation of the cattle, said the investigator, Jeffrey M. VanBrocklin.
The blaze was believed to have erupted at the west end of the structure, where chopped hay was stored, Mr. VanBrocklin said. Although the cause was said to be undetermined. the investigator said spontaneous combustion is suspected. The hay was cut Thursday and was placed in the barn Saturday, he said.
Fire units from Felts Mills, Champion, Rutland, town of Watertown, Copenhagen and Black River responded, with many remaining until about 6 a.m.
Mr. Garvin was awakened by his alarm clock, which was activated by a power disruption caused by the blaze, Mr. VanBrocklin said.
The property is insured. A tractor, a Bobcat skid steer and various farm equipment were lost with the structure.
Neither Mr. Garvin nor his wife were available for comment.
The 100-by-30-foot barn was built to replace a larger structure, 134-by-34 feet, that was destroyed by fire on Dec. 23, 1974, when the farm was operated by the current owners father, the late John J. Garvin. No cattle were reported lost in that blaze.