Vanquished blaze – Animals saved in barn fire at mink farm

November 2022 Posted in Community, News

By Stephen Floyd 

Neither people nor animals were harmed after a barn caught fire at a mink farm in Mount Angel on Oct. 21.

The four-alarm fire was called in around 5:20 p.m. at Ruef Fur Ranch, and first responders came upon a tall column of smoke and a barn fully involved in flames.

Though the farm’s population of minks was threatened, fire crews were able to keep the flames from harming the animals. There were also horses stabled nearby that were able to be evacuated.

Responding fire crews discovered a barn fully involved Oct. 21 during a callout in Mount Angel.

Responding fire crews discovered a barn fully involved Oct. 21 during a callout in Mount Angel.

Mt. Angel Fire District (MAFD) Public Information Officer John Rossi said it was “kind of a big deal” that no animals were lost, and credited the efforts of responders who arrived from agencies in Mt. Angel, Silverton, Woodburn, Monitor, Hubbard and St. Paul.

“Everybody and their brother came to that one,” said Rossi.

Equipment on site included 11 fire engines, two brush trucks and a ladder truck. Because the farm was outside the Mount Angel city limits, there were no hydrants for engines to hook up to and water had to be brought on site by 13 water tenders.

Crews brought the fire under control around 6:40 p.m. and firefighters remained on scene through the following morning to watch for flareups.

Rossi said the barn, estimated to be 20,000 square feet, was a total loss, and said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

This was the first of three fire responses within 24 hours for MAFD, including two assists for other districts.

In the early afternoon of Oct. 22, crews responded to a second barn fire on Sconce Road, near Monitor. The fire was started by a woodstove and the structure was a total loss.

After the second structure fire, MAFD assisted with a backyard fire in unincorporated Marion County after a burn pile got out of control. Rossi said even though this is the time of year residents normally begin lighting burn piles, recent dry conditions have kept fire risks high.

“It’s been so dry, so that’s the thing we kind of worried about, even though we’ve had all this rain,” he said.

Rossi added MAFD and other agencies were able to respond quickly to the fires because of an Oregon State Fire Marshal grant that paid for extra staffing during wildfire season. He said for volunteer agencies like MAFD, this was a game-changer as firefighters could leave right from the station rather than first arrive from home or work.

“It makes all the difference in the world,” said Rossi.

Although the grant expired Oct. 26, Rossi said the district is hopeful similar funding can be made available in the future.

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