Shavings spontaneously combust in Avondale Road barn

Ashley Thompson
Published on August 3, 2014

It may be time for the dairy cows at Shawbrook Farm to start counting their lucky stars.

Fire broke out in a storage barn containing bedding material used on the Avondale Road farm around 10:30 a.m. Aug. 3.

“Upon our arrival we found small smoldering spots of fire,” said Capt. Andy McDade, of the Brooklyn Volunteer Fire Department.

The fire was caused by spontaneous combustion, McDade added.

“We are removing the bedding material with a farm tractor and soaking it as we go, finding small pockets of fire throughout,” he said.

Fire departments from Brooklyn, Mount Uniacke, Windsor, Summerville and Hantsport provided support for the call. About 35 firefighters were on the scene tackling the hot spots.

Considering the building’s proximity to barns housing cattle, McDade said the quick thinking of employees on the farm helped save the day.

“The workers did an excellent job of detecting the fire before it started,” said McDade, who added that the employees were tipped off by the smell of smoke.

McDade stressed that the likelihood of spontaneous combustion occurring in a barn full of shavings can be minimized if all of the material stored in the structure is dry.

No one was injured. Allen Shaw owns the farm.