Family plans on rebuilding after barn fire
Jarrad and Jessica Altemose stand in front of what is left of the old dairy barn. The hay is still smoldering behind them. The family has stayed at the farm watching for flare-ups and hot spots.
Parts of the shed located behind the dairy barn still smoldering almost three days after the fire.
The lower level of the barn was originally a milking parlor when the barn housed dairy cows. Most recently the area was used to store hay in the winter. The hay and feed was destroyed in the fire.
On Saturday night, when Jarrad Altemose heard the scanner go off in his home he realized that the old dairy barn at the family farm in Brodheadsville was on fire.
“When you looked out the sky was just red and orange,” Altemose said. “You could see it all the way from Kresgeville.”
Bill Altemose, the family patriarch, could see the glow from his home on the Effort-Neola Road.
“When my mom and I got to the intersection I looked up and I said, ‘that’s not the lights on the football field,’” Jessica Altemose added.
Jarrad and Jessica and other members of the family have been at their grandfather’s farm day and night since the fire on Saturday night.
Piles of hay and debris are still smoldering almost three days since the fire was extinguished.
“That pile over there had flames 10 foot high last night,” Jarrad said Tuesday. “We put it out with the garden hose.”
Jarrad said that the firefighters told him that they had used over 500,000 gallons of water on the barn fire.
The family was lucky. While the barn appears to be a complete loss, no one was injured and all of the cattle made it out of the barn safely.
A litter of kittens is believed to have been lost in the fire. The mother cat did escape.
Bill Altemose, the farm’s owner is grateful to the neighbors and the firefighters who came to fight the fire and helped to save the cattle.
“I really want to thank them all,” said Altemose. “It really was a bad fire.”
Jarrad Altemose said that much of the farm’s equipment and much of the old dairy farm items were lost in the fire.
“We lost a skid loader, hay elevators and fencing,” Altemose said. “The aluminum just melted into a big glob. The fire was so hot, if you stood over here your shirt would just catch on fire.”
Bill Altemose said that the family is expecting the insurance adjuster to visit the farm soon. The source of the fire is still unknown.
“We will rebuild,” Jarrad Altemose said. “Probably something more suited to beef cattle.”
Jarrad plans on following in the family tradition of raising cattle. In the meantime, he and his sister and the rest of the family is spending their time keeping an eye out for flare-ups.
Two fundraisers have been scheduled to help the family with some of the costs not covered by the insurance.
Joan Grabinsky has started a gofundme page entitled “Help Altemose Farm” and hopes to raise $5,000.
Donna Green and her daughter Amanda will be sponsoring a basket raffle to raise money to help their friends as well.
“We had a house fire five years ago right before Christmas,” said Donna Green. “And Darren and Michelle Altemose, Jarrad and Jessica’s parents did everything they could to help us out. So when we heard about the fire, Amanda said to me ‘Mom we have to do something.”
The Greens will hold the basket raffle on Sunday, June 3 at the Indian Mountain Rod and Gun Club on Route 534 in Kresgeville. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Anyone interested in donating money, a basket or any other item for the raffle is welcomed to contact Donna at 570-470-6080 or Amanda at 570-688-5806.
“What we are hoping to do is just help the family in any way we can, the same as they did for us,” Green said.