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Farm’s future uncertain after devastating fire

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – Chris Byford feeds five-month-old lambs, motherless because of the fire that killed more than 200 of his sheep. Photo by Justin Greaves, Loyalist Photojournalism [1]

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – Chris Byford feeds five-month-old lambs, motherless because of the fire that killed more than 200 of his sheep. Photo by Justin Greaves, Loyalist Photojournalism

By Suzanne Coolen

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – Chris Byford’s family has farmed on Bethel Road here for more than 58 years. But after a devastating fire on Saturday, Byford is not sure what his future holds,

“I have put many hard years in here and I fear that this is the end of it,” Byford said. “I’m still up in the air on what I want to do.”

Byford lost a big part of his livestock on addition to a barn, connecting buildings and most of his hay in the early-morning fire.

More than 200 sheep were killed. Many of them were nursing, leaving many weaning lambs to fend for themselves. With not enough shelter for the surviving animals, some of them are being housed temporarily at a neighbouring farm.

Byford says the loss still hasn’t sunk in.

He credits his family and neighbours for preventing what could have been a bigger tragedy.

“Everyone pitched in; there were a lot of people here to help,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them we would have lost a lot more.”

Because of the building being about 150 years old it was not fully insurable, Byford said, adding that his insurance would only cover the cost of the cleanup.

The cause of the fire is not known but it is presumed to have been an accidental electrical fire. It is not considered suspicious, according to the Prince Edward County Fire Department.

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