Cattle saved from inferno; barn destroyed

LANA MUTHLER/THE EXPRESS Jacob Heisey, left, owner of the burning cattle barn on River Road, South Avis, and Brett Bowes, a local farmer, walk across the field as the barn is consumed by flames.

SOUTH AVIS – Flames were shooting high into the sky and smoke could be seen for miles when Jacob Heisey and his three sons arrived at their cattle barn on River Road and opened the pens to free 72 head of cattle from the inferno.

Many of the cattle suffered burns as the fire dropped onto them from above.

One cow was burned so bad it had to be put down.

The fire raged out of control, as firefighters set up water shuttles and connected hoses along the road to hydrants on Henry Street to get water to the fire.

But, the blaze had a good head start and it continued to burn relentlessly.

Heisey and his three sons were at their dairy farm about four miles away milking cows when a neighbor called and made them aware of the fire.

Efforts by neighbors to release the cattle from their pens inside the barn were unsuccessful. The neighbors said it was too hot. When Jacob and his sons arrived they opened the rear gates and the cattle ran out into the fields.

A ladder truck from Jersey Shore arrived and made an overhead attack that helped tremendously.

Still, the flames shot out of every nook and cranny and gray smoke billowed for miles.

Three hours after it began, which was just before 8 a.m., the fire was still smoldering and fire volunteers continued to play water on the burning embers,

Read more about this tragic fire in Tuesday’s print copy of The Express.