DEXTER — Jason Bowden had just gone into town Monday morning to get fuel for his tractor and some food when he got a phone call saying his barn was on fire.

“I wasn’t even gone 20 minutes,” he said Tuesday, the day after the fire, as smoke continued to rise from the site of the old barn, which Bowden and his wife, Heather, purchased in November.

The farm on Ripley Road dates to the 1830s and the barn was built in 1952, said Fred Sherburne, the farm’s previous owner. He was the fourth generation to farm the 110-acre property, he said, and was helping Bowden sort through the damage on Tuesday.

Bowden, who grew up in nearby Corinna, said he always had dreamed of owning his own farm and had just gotten the dairy operation underway when Monday’s fire struck. He said he’s not sure if he will rebuild the barn, although members of the community, including the Sherburne family, already have started to rally to support the Bowdens, who also have two young children.

More than $6,000 had been raised by Tuesday afternoon as part of a GoFundMe campaign started by the Sherburne family on Monday.

“There aren’t any words I can say,” said Bowden, 31. “I can’t say thank you enough for all the help and support we’ve received.”

The family had been planning to move into the farmhouse next to the barn. The house was not damaged in the fire, but it was cut off temporarily from electricity and running water because of the fire.

Bowden also said he wanted to thank his neighbors, Dan Davis and Ron Simpson, who helped get his cows out of the burning barn Monday and were giving him a temporary place to keep them. Most of the approximately 100 cows in the barn survived, but about 30, including several calves, did not, Bowden said.

The remaining cows are staying at the nearby Simpson View Farms in Corinna, which is owned by Ron Simpson. Simpson, who also lost an equipment barn a few years ago as well as a dairy barn in July, said he could identify with what the Bowdens were going through and wanted to help them. He lost about 85 cows in the July fire and still is rebuilding from it. The new cows are adjusting to their temporary home and don’t seem too shaken up from the fire Monday, he said. Space at the farm is tight — Simpson has about 1,200 cows already — but he said they would make it work for the Bowdens.

“We’ll make it do,” he said. “I’d do anything for that young man. He’s like a son to me. He helps me out a lot.”

Dexter Fire Chief Matt Connor said the fire’s cause remained unknown Tuesday and that it would likely be undetermined, although the Office of State Fire Marshal is investigating. Fire crews were at the scene for more than eight hours Monday trying to fight the blaze in freezing temperatures. They went back there Tuesday morning after a report that some hay in the barn had reignited the fire. It is normal for hay to smolder for days, and the Fire Department will continue to monitor the site, Connor said.

“I can’t thank the firefighters enough. With the cold and everything freezing up, it was a long, hard day,” Bowden said. For both Bowden and Sherburne, the loss of the barn hadn’t quite sunk in by Tuesday.

“I’m sure sometime later tonight it will hit me,” Sherburne said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm