Fires devastate area sheep sheds
March 9, 2009
A tragic fire struck the Glen and Sondra Boggess farm east of Newell, SD on Thursday, Feb. 26 at around 2 a.m. The two connected lambing barns, 48′ x 80′ and 30′ x 36′, housed 145 ewes, 100 lambs, about 20 kid goats, a guard llama, one pet goat and some Angora rabbits.
The fire apparently started in the wiring on the north end of one barn and the buildings were totally engulfed in less than 30 minutes. It was a stormy night and the wiring may have shorted out due to the high wind.
“It’s not the loss of the buildings that hurts so bad, it’s the animals,” said Glen Boggess. “We were all done lambing and just had them in there because of the weather. They weren’t just livestock, they really meant a lot to us.”
With no insurance on the buildings or the livestock, Glen and Sondra aren’t sure what they’ll do now. Glen says that he will just concentrate on his haying this summer and give themselves time to decide.
The fire added to the difficulties they’ve had in the past 12 months. The flood of May 2008 took a lot of their sheep, and then a hail storm in June took the whole first cutting of hay.
Glen wanted to mention the quick response by the Newell Ambulance and Fire Department. “Those people must sleep in their trucks!” he said. “The ambulance was here first to make sure we were okay, then the fire department arrived. They saved two other buildings that were very close to the fire. They were just wonderful!”
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The remains of the buildings and stock have been buried, though a wisp of smoke still rises here and there. Glen said that it helps to have the mess cleaned up. He’s somehow managed to retain his sense of humor and wanted to point out, “Since we don’t have the sheep, I do have some little square bales for sale.”
Fire seemed to be the order of the week, as a fire on Feb. 28 claimed another barn 37 miles north of Belle Fourche, SD. A 30′ x 80′ shearing shed on the Arledge Ranch was completely destroyed at around 4 p.m.
According to Dan Goeders who works for the ranch, it had sheep panels in it, but fortunately, no sheep. He believes that the fire was of an electrical origin. He also wanted to commend the fire departments from Belle Fourche, Nisland and Newell for the quick response despite the great distance they had to travel.
Old wiring is seldom considered until after a fire. Both parties thought it would be a good idea to examine the wiring on old buildings more closely and do some preventative work before something terrible happens.