A fire truck stuck in the mud while fighting a fire Monday at Cider Hollow Farm at 247 Back St. in North Monmouth. Photo courtesy of Monmouth Fire Department

MONMOUTH — A Monday evening fire destroyed a barn at a North Monmouth farm, killing more than a dozen animals.

Initial reports of the blaze at Cider Hollow Farm, at 247 Back St., came in at 6:11 p.m. Monday, according to Monmouth Fire Chief Dan Roy. Wet, sloppy conditions forced firefighters from five departments to think on their feet after a truck became mired in the 3,000-foot dirt driveway.

“I noticed the distance and knew from several other wet areas that we weren’t going to get any other trucks in there,” Roy said. “With those wet conditions and a dirt driveway, it just wasn’t a good recipe to get heavy equipment in there.”

Roy said it was chaotic at the scene for a moment as firefighters used their personal vehicles to shuttle equipment to the fire scene and corralled animals with the property owners. He said no training prepared his crews for the conditions, but they did well to think on their feet.

“You don’t really train for stuff like this, but it’s past experience,” Roy said. “We learn to think outside the box and improvise.”

Forestry equipment from Wales and a floating pump in the farm’s pond were essential for beating the fire back, Roy said, as wind was blowing embers toward the home and other structures on the property. He said the 60-foot-by-60-foot barn had collapsed and was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived.

“It took us about three hours to get the fire completely extinguished,” Roy said. “We had firefighters stuck up to their knees in mud puddles.”

Tax records from the town show that the property is owned by Teri and Steven Sherrets.

In a Facebook post written early Tuesday morning, a representative from the farm wrote that at least 14 alpacas, two rabbits, two horses, a rescue calf and a boar were lost in the fire on “the most horrific night of my life.”

“I am trying to stay positive, but that’s not easy and I am writing this through tears,” the post read. “We are so very thankful for the Monmouth and surrounding fire departments. They also helped put together and wrangle animals into temporary shelters. We are thankful for neighbors coming to help. We are thankful for our adult children that came and stayed to help. We are thankful for the animals that remain. We are thankful that we are healthy and unharmed. We are thankful that it did not reach the house. It could have been much worse.”

Teri Sherrets was not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

Crews from Winthrop, Leeds and Greene also assisted with the fire.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: