UPDATED: Fire destroys barn, family's livelihood at stake - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATED: Fire destroys barn, family's livelihood at stake


A barn is in shambles and a family's livelihood at stake, following an early morning fire near Washburn.  Fire broke out just after midnight at the Foulk's family farm in the 5000 block of McKevette, just off Highway 218.  Within minutes, the fire destroyed the barn, killing some two dozen calves and two family dogs that were inside.

The Foulks just bought the farm in 2007 to be close to relatives who also farm in the area.  One of them lost a barn a few years ago.  And now, Ross and Jennifer Foulk are coping with losing their own barn.  But they're committed to rebuilding a regaining their livelihood.

Twisted pieces of burnt metal are all that remains of the Foulk family's barn following the fire early Monday morning.

"It went up in a matter of minutes.  It looked like it glowed.  The metal on the roof just glowed red," said Jennifer Foulk, who lives on the farm with her husband.

Foulks says it was devastating to stand by, feeling helpless, and knowing that so many animals were trapped.  But the flames were too intense and spread so fast, her husband was only able to safely open the back pen.  Those cattle fled to the neighboring barn and survived.

"But the ones inside, we weren't able to save them.  And that's all I can remember.  It just happened so fast," Foulk said.

The Foulks say animals are the heart of their farming operation.  So the fire will seriously damage their business.  But they'll likely help out on family members' farms, while trying to rebuild.

"It'll come back.  It'll just take a while to rebuild.  It's just the period between it burning down and rebuilding that'll be the difficult part.  But we'll get through. I have faith," said Foulk.

For now, they're thankful for the support of family, friends, and the community as they start down the road to recovery.

While the loss of the Foulks' cattle is devastating, the family says it could've been much worse.  They were expecting about 450 head of hog to be delivered this week, and they too would likely have been lost in the fire.

Several area fire departments helped put out the barn fire Monday morning.  But they've still not determined what sparked the blaze.

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