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Huge Spafford barn fire is ‘no reason to quit’

Fesko Dairy picking up the pieces following fire at main complex

A huge fire consumed the main barn complex at Fesko Dairy in Spafford last Thursday, July 19. The cause of the fire remains unknown. More than 10 local fire departments responded to the blaze while passersby stopped their cars on Route 41 to help owner Chris Fesko and her employees save animals form the barn.

A huge fire consumed the main barn complex at Fesko Dairy in Spafford last Thursday, July 19. The cause of the fire remains unknown. More than 10 local fire departments responded to the blaze while passersby stopped their cars on Route 41 to help owner Chris Fesko and her employees save animals form the barn.

— The fire was initially reported by one of Fesko’s employees, Jason Miles, who saw flames shooting out the upstairs windows. A second call to 911 was made by Fesko’s daughter, Kimbery Brayman, who stayed at the scene throughout the day.

Fesko said she was the third person to call in to report the fire, but with the location of the farm, using her cell phone to call 911, automatically routed her call to Cortland County.

“You may not be getting the emergency response team that you need,” she said regarding cell phone use.

Regardless of what county the call was transferred to, fire companies filed into the farm to begin battling the flames as the barn was quickly consumed. According to reports, more than 10 local fire departments responded to the call for aid shortly after 3 p.m., including Spafford, Borodino, Skaneateles, Marcellus, Amber, Mottville, Homer, Navarino, Otisco, South Onondaga, Cortlandville, Elbridge and Preble.

Crews remained on the scene until close to 11 p.m. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Along with the barn catching fire, a grass fire was started from flames sparking out the backside of the complex, which was quickly brought under control by farm employees dumping five-gallon pails of water from the family’s swimming pool on the fire, Fesko said.

“I thought our employees and my son-in-law and my daughter worked really well under pressure,” Fesko said.

Despite the blaze consuming the main dairy complex, the remaining buildings on the farm were protected from the fire, including the milk parlor where employees had been milking cows at the time the fire was reported.

“Thank God we were able to save the milk parlor,” Fesko said. “There were two men on one little hose and they just sprayed the daylights out of it.”

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