Nine calves die in Delavan Township barn fire

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010
— Nine calves died Sunday in a fire that destroyed a milking barn north of the city of Delavan.

A neighbor has made room to milk Don and Helen Schmaling's 83 cows, and the animals are doing well with the help of many neighbors, Helen Schmaling said.

The Schmalings were at church when a neighbor reported the fire around 8 a.m. at N4534 County Highway P in Delavan Township. The barn itself was empty because the cows had been turned outside after morning chores, Schmaling said.

A neighbor evacuated about 20 calves and heifers out of a shed attached to the milking barn. The temperature was so high it killed nine calves, Schmaling said.

The fire completely destroyed the stanchion barn along with the 8-by 8-foot wooden barn quilt that was part of a series of such decorative displays across Walworth County.

Firefighters were on scene until 5 a.m. Monday, Town of Delavan Fire Chief Gerry Edwards said. Elkhorn, Delavan, Darien and East Troy fire departments responded along with the Town of Delavan Fire Department.

The cause of the fire and the amount of damage still are under investigation, Edwards said.

Helen Schmaling doubts the cause ever will be determined.

"We have no clue, and we probably never will," she said. "At 7:30, someone left the barn. There was no smoke smell, nothing. By five to eight, it was in flames."

Last updated: 1:49 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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