Fire consumes hay barn at Matsche Farms

Damages estimated at $600,000
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Contributed Photo Fire destroyed a hay barn at Matsche Farms Inc. in the town of Almon early Sunday morning. Damages were estimated at $600,000.

A hay barn in the town of Almon was destroyed by fire Sunday morning.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department said a call came in at 4:13 a.m. reporting a fire at Matsche Farms Inc. at N9035 River Road, about 5 miles from Birnamwood.

The barn was full of high quality hay purchased from Canada, western states and nearby farms, according to Heather Matsche, a spokesperson for the family.

Matsche estimated the barn and hay were worth about $600,000.

Matsche posted the following comment on Facebook on Monday: “We have a great community that we live in. With all of the chaos, no one was hurt, and we thank God for that.”

Overheated hay might have caused the fire, but officials are still investigating.

Bowler Fire Department led the response, which eventually included mutual aid from Birnamwood, Gresham, Stockbridge-Munsee, Mattoon, Tigerton, Norwood, Hatley, Langlade and Wittenberg.

“When it comes to hay fires, you’ve got to pull the hay apart, and being as big as the building is and stuff like that, it’s time consuming,” Dan Ladwig, Bowler Fire Department chief, told WSAW. “Probably over 500,000 gallons of water probably was hauled.”

Matsche employees, people from Meverden Excavating and members of the Thiex Construction crew helped firefighters contain the blaze to one building.