Fire destroys large barn, much equipment, in Point de Bute

Joan LeBlanc
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Firemen work to extinguish flames during a structure fire in Point de Bute on Saturday morning. Volunteer fire departments from Point de Bute, Sackville and Port Elgin fought the blaze, which could be seen for miles around. A large storage garage owned by Roy and Shelley Dixon was levelled and a farm tractor, as well as much equipment and tools were destroyed in the mishap. The cause of the fire is unknown; the building was not insured.   PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

POINTE DE BUTE, NB – The cause of the fire that destroyed a large barn in Point de Bute on Saturday is still unknown.

The metal-sided building, owned by Roy and Shelley Dixon, housed a wide range of tools and equipment, as well as a farm tractor; all were reduced to a pile of rubble.

Fire departments from Point de Bute, Sackville and Port Elgin responded to the fire and were able to extinguish it by about 1 p.m.

The couple was not at home when the fire apparently broke out, sometime after 9 a.m., but shortly thereafter neighbours saw smoke and flames billowing out of the large structure and called 911, and alerting the couple, the Dixon’s said in an interview on Tuesday.

“By 10 o’clock it was fully engulfed. Our neighbour, Carl Tingley came right over and the fire trucks arrived just minutes later. As soon as they arrived they knew they couldn’t save the garage so they concentrated on saving our house and a small building behind the garage,” Shelley Dixon said.

The building, which was built in the late 1980s’, housed all kinds of tools including welders, compressors, full propane and oxygen tanks, construction tools and staging, many kinds of oil and vehicle fluids as well as 40 years accumulation of hand and power tools; most all of which were destroyed.

The Dixon’s credit the fast response of their neighbours and all three fire departments for saving their home and pets that were in it at the time.

“We don’t always appreciate our volunteer fire departments as much as we should, but they did an amazing job. We can’t thank them, and all of our neighbours who helped out, enough. We are so appreciative of everything that everyone did to help,” Shelley said.

Quick thinking by a number of friends saved a large dump truck that was parked beside the burning building.

“Someone started the excavator that was there and used it to pull two large fuel tanks that were in front of the garage, across the yard. The fire melted the hoses off the tanks. And they got into the truck and drove it across the yard too,” Roy Dixon said.

The couple said the metal sides of the barn served to contain the fire, driving smoke and flames high into the air.

“The (wood and asphalt) roof collapsed but the fire stayed inside the metal walls. There was very little wind that morning so the fire department was able to hose down the house and keep it from burning. The siding on the back of the car garage (which is attached to the house) was melted and a window broke from the heat,” Shelley said.

Indeed, despite the huge loss, the couple said it could have been much worse.

“No one was hurt and they saved our home,” she said.

It’s been a tough few months for the Dixon’s. In late December the roof of one of their several cattle barns collapsed and they were forced to move about 50 head of cattle to a feedlot in the area.

The Dixon’s operate a trucking and construction business in addition to their large beef operation, selling farm fresh beef to individuals as well as local and regional stores.

Still trying to make sense of the whole disaster, early Tuesday morning Roy Dixon was on the phone ordering some new basic tools so he can carry on his business.

“You just keep on going; what else can you do,” he said.


Geographic location: Point de Bute, Port Elgin

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