Iowa Barn Fire Claims Dozens of Calves

Feb. 13--WASHBURN, Iowa -- A Washburn family is assessing the damage this morning after a late-night fire destroyed a barn and killed a number of calves.

A passerby spotted the flames coming from the large barn at Foulk Farms on McKevette Road shortly after midnight Monday.

Rod Foulk, uncle of the farm's operator Ross Foulk, said he was told a neighbor had rushed to the building and attempted to open the door to free the livestock but found the handle too hot.

The blaze claimed 28 calves and two dogs, according to fire officials and family. Damage was estimated at about $300,000, firefighters said

"I live up the road, and I looked out and could see the flames," Rod Foulk said.

The Gilbertville Fire Department was the first agency on the scene.

"It was fully involved. The roof was gone, and the barn was in flames," said Chief Bob Demuth.

The barn contained a number of hay bales that made the fire more difficult to extinguish, and firefighters from neighboring La Porte City and Hudson were also called to assist.

"They helped a lot ... We had about 30 guys from the three departments," Demuth said. He said they remained on the scene until 5:30 a.m.

The cause is under investigation but isn't considered suspicious, Demuth said.