A large family dairy farm lost its barn and an undetermined number of cows in a fire Friday evening.
Many of the cows at the 50-year-old Korona Dairy Farm were saved, officials said, as workers shooed them out as the fire spread.
The fire destroyed the barn on Route 107, but left the house and silos intact.
Firefighters from three counties responded, helping douse the flames and trucking water to the scene.
In addition to firefighters, people from other farms and families stepped up to help get the surviving cows into trailers so they could be transported to other farms for the night. No firefighters or volunteers were reported injured.
“We’ve got so much help here, it’s unbelievable,” Perth Animal Control Officer Joseph Passino said as he helped coordinate the effort.
Trailers lined up to be loaded, and volunteers worked to get the cows on. The volunteers loaded the trailers in the rear of the property, entering from an airstrip. Firefighters worked to douse the remainder of the fire from the front of the property.
Some of the waiting cows stood on a ridge, silhouetted by the sun as it set. At 9 p.m., trailers were still lining up.
The cows were in the process of being milked at the time of the fire.
Estimates on the total number of cows, as well as the number that survived or were lost varied. Passino said there were as many as 200 and as many as 55 perished, but a fire official put the number lost at less than 10, saying most got out in time.
The dairy farm is owned by Stanley Korona. It was established in 1965, according to a sign on the property that still stood as the barn lay in rubble.
Walt Kowalczyk, Korona’s brother-in-law and a Perth town councilman, lives nearby and said he first saw dark smoke, then it burst into flames.
“I said ‘Oh, God, don’t tell me the barn is on fire,’ ” Kowalczyk recalled. “I don’t know how many cows they lost.”
He described “the boys” going in to get as many cows out as possible.
“They were chasing them out, then the firemen didn’t let them do anything more because it was too dangerous,” Kowalczyk said.