A well-known Petitcodiac family is reeling after their largest barn was destroyed by fire.
Flames broke out at Degenhardt’s European Sausage Farm early Sunday morning, and by the time firefighters arrived the building was completely engulfed, killing chickens, ducks and geese in the blaze.
Remo Dengenhardt said about three quarters of the barn had already collapsed by the time he arrived on the scene. He and his family live in Sussex and drive to the property to work.
“When we first came here that was the very first barn we used for growing our turkeys, so there’s a lot of history,” he said. “We had a lot of laughs and memories in the barn.”
The business started in the 1980s making authentic German and European sausages, which they sell at local farmers’ markets and grocery stores.
The destroyed four-storey barn was more than a century old and was already on the property when the Dengenhardt family purchased it. The top floor was home to a few hundred barn swallows.
Sam Snowdon-Degenhardt, Remo’s daughter, who is also involved in the business, said her brother woke her early Sunday morning and showed her pictures of the barn in flames.
“It ended up catching really quick and it was a matter of time, about 10 minutes, before the whole thing was just caught. There was no way of stopping it,” she said.
Snowdon-Degenhardt said the fire was likely started by something electrical on an upper floor.
“It was devastating to see the barn the way it was, and it was already in shambles when we got here.”
The fire was so big that the heat blackened the side of a nearby trailer and barn, but firefighters managed to stop it from spreading.
Degenhardt sells poultry, as well as its sausage brands, and lost 28 birds in the fire, including baby chicks that had just been moved in. The fire will not have an impact on the sausage side of the business.
The farm’s water supply distribution was under the damaged barn and will need to be repaired, and the rest of the barns are without electricity.
The family was planning to upgrade the electrical wiring in the building so they could get it insured. They did not have a policy when it burned, because it was costly given the barn’s age.
There’s no estimate on the cost of replacing the structure and the poultry that was lost, but it will likely cost “several hundred thousand dollars” just to replace the barn, Remo said.
Snowdon-Degenhardt said she has many fond memories of spending time in the barn growing up and helping out with the livestock. Her family spent Sunday night going through photos.
“There used to be a little stairwell and we used to play hide-and-seek and hide in the little crevices of the barn,” she said. “I used to sit up on the second level and just dangle my feet and watch the property.”
“Seeing it gone, it’s just hard to not picture it there.”
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