Bristol family hopes to rebuild from barn fire - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bristol family hopes to rebuild from barn fire

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At the Choiniere farm in Bristol, a single silo stands alone. The farm's barn was where Mark Choiniere says three generations of his family grew up and worked together. "Oh, hours and hours. Either milking, or cleaning, or feeding or fixing... that kind of stuff. Memories I'd just as soon not have," Choiniere said.

But in just hours, as fire ripped through the structure, the years of history went up in smoke and flames. The massive fire broke out at the farm Saturday afternoon.  The barn the family has owned since the 50's is now nothing but ashes and rubble.

"He noticed a small fire in the back. He said he went and immediately called 911. He turned around, and he said the next thing he knew the entire barn had just gone up in flames," said Bristol Assistant Fire Chief Brett LaRose.

LaRose says upon arriving at the scene crews had nothing left to save. Five departments and 55 firefighters worked for hours just to get the blaze under control. "The wind, the cold temperatures -- that impacted our operations. We had trucks that were malfunctioning, primers freezing up, valves freezing up... Of course our personnel -- our firefighters -- they were very cold and wet," he said.

LaRose says the 200 round hay bales inside the barn fueled the fire. Mark's son, Paul, is the current owner of the family farm and was home at the time of the fire. He was able to free the horses, an alpaca and cow inside the barn just in time.  At one time, a hundred heifers lived in the barn.  Choiniere says he is grateful the animals that recently called it home -- and his family -- are safe, and that the wind was blowing in their favor. "The direction of the wind was a concern. If it had been at all this direction, we would have lost that barn and maybe this {house}, so we were fortunate," he said.

With support from the neighbors the Choiniere family says they will rebuild. Although they can't bring back the barn filled with 50 years of memories, they will find a way to move forward together.  

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but is not suspicious in nature.

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