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Fire flares up on Addison farm

ADDISON — A large barn fire at Ass-Pirin Acres farm in Addison last Wednesday afternoon had fire departments from five towns on the scene for several hours.
Marshlyn Reed, who runs the miniature donkey farm with her husband, Michael, said none of the 140 animals on the farm were injured in the fire, which started around 2 p.m. in an unused silo connected to the old dairy barn on the property.
Addison fire chief Chris Mulliss said the fire started due to spontaneous combustion of silage, then spread to the barn. He said spontaneous combustion fires don’t break out often, but they’re also not rare.
“It does happen,” he said. “We’ve had three or four cases within the last eight to 10 years.”
Mulliss said the first Addison fire engine was on the scene within 10 to 12 minutes of the incident being reported, and that it took another 10 to 20 minutes to get the fire under control and about four hours before Addison firefighters left the scene.
In all, Mulliss said the front 35 to 40 feet of the barn sustained serious damage. Reed on Thursday said she did not know yet how much the damage would cost to repair, or what the future of the barn would be.
Still, she said, “we’re very fortunate.”
The dairy barn houses some of the donkeys during the winter, but they spend the summer outside, so no animals were in the building. Mulliss said a large square baler was lost, but the crews rescued a tractor from the barn. Mulliss said that there were also around 200 round bales of hay stored in the barn, but the fire did not reach them.
“(The fire departments) did a magnificent job,” said Reed.
And a day after the incident, she said the farm was back to business. The Reeds have been breeding, raising and selling their Mediterranean miniature donkeys to customers around the world for 26 years now, and they run an auto parts shop, farm parts of their 400 acres for crops, and lease out the rest.
“We’re just so busy here on the farm that life goes on,” she said. “You just have to pick up and keep going.”
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected].

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