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Published February 20, 2013, 05:56 PM

Fire takes lives of cows, brings down barn

Hawley, MN (WDAY TV) - An early morning fire has claimed a family barn and several cows North of Hawley.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Hawley, MN (WDAY TV) - An early morning fire has claimed a family barn and several cows North of Hawley.

But it could have been so much worse. The family is thankful for a passing neighbor who was watching out for them.

It took firefighters about two hours to put out the blaze. By the time it was all said and done, 10 cows perished in the flames.

Wes Dunham, Lost Family Barn: "I got a call from my Mom. She said the barn is on fire, and it's like, what do you do? There's cows in the barn."

Wes and Brad Dunham live nearby, helping their parents with the family cattle ranch.

Brad had been in the barn checking on the cattle less than two hours earlier.

Brad Dunham: "I didn't even make the driveway. I hit the ditch and ran out of my car."

They were able to get most of the cattle to safety, but five cows and five calves died in the nursery area of the barn.

Wes and Brad's grandfather built this barn more than 50 years ago.

Wes: "It's sad. It's been in the family forever, but what can you do?"

Still, Wes says he is thankful for the neighbor that reported the fire and woke his parents.

He says that may have saved the other 130 cows and the rest of the barn.

Wes: "He drove, by saw the flames. Thank God for neighbors."

As for the rest of the cattle, the newer part of the barn is still standing, so they have somewhere to stay warm.

The feed did not burn in the fire, and while water was temporarily down, the family expected to have it running again this afternoon.

The Dunham's say the fire may have started from a skid steer that was plugged in near the barn. A state fire marshal is investigating.

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