NEW FRANKEN - An area dairy farm is dealing with the deaths of hundreds of cows and damage to a new barn that could well exceed a million dollars.
The fire broke out Wednesday evening at Dairyland Farm on Mercier Road in New Franken.
Firefighters had their work cut out for them trying to battle the barn fire with about a thousand cows inside.
"It's difficult because we have to stay on the safe side so we don't get injured ourselves from the cattle moving around because they want out," said Carl VandenAvond of the New Franken Fire Department.
A day after the fire, the work continues, trying to determine which cows are treatable and which ones are beyond hope.
About 75 cows were killed in the fire and between 200 and 300 will likely end up euthanized because of injury and smoke inhalation.
"If it's real heavy smoke, they can't take much at all," said Scott Ruetten, a dairy veterinarian at De Pere Veterinary Service. "Cows' lung capacity compared to their body size isn't what you would expect."
Ruetten didn't treat any of the Dairyland cows. However he says the treatment of the cows will likely be ongoing.
"You'll have after effects that will be seen weeks down the road and they'll probably lose more animals than they've lost to this point," said Ruetten.
The owner of the farm, Larry Dufek, didn't want to talk on camera. He says it has been emotional dealing with the loss of his animals.
"It's rough," said VandenAvond. "Animals, it's just like everybody's pet. To us, cows are like pets and it's tough to see any animal suffer."
The loss isn't just emotional. Each cow is valued at $2,000. The barn they were in was under construction and half of it was destroyed. Its value is $3 million.
The total cost of the damage and the cause of the fire still is not known. The exact number of cows lost also isn't known yet.
The farm is made up of five buildings and usually houses 2,000 cows.
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