Eleven bulls were killed in a fire at the farm Fagrahlíð in Jökulsárhlíð, East Iceland, yesterday, RÚV reports. The fire chief emphasizes that fire prevention must be improved in cowsheds, barns and stables, and that they must no more be insulated with flammable Styrofoam.
No one was home when the fire started shortly before noon. The farmer was 8 km (5 mi) away and saw the smoke rising into the air. When he and others arrived at the scene, the fire had spread all over the cowshed, which housed 11 bulls. Baldur Pálsson, fire chief in East Iceland, reports that those who first arrived reacted correctly.
“At once, they used a tractor to create an opening into the cowshed, but nothing could be seen so the bulls suffocated in smoke. A barn for 540 sheep burned down and a storage area; and it all burned down in just over half an hour.” No sheep were in the barn. “Yes, it’s unbelievable, since at this time of year, all sheep are [typically] in the barn, but here we have green pastures and all the sheep outdoors. Otherwise, more than 400 sheep would have been lost.”
Baldur hopes this tragedy will encourage people to improve fire protection where livestock is kept. “It must be done now and, in fact, all over the country. You can estimate that 70-80 percent of buildings that house livestock are insulated with Styrofoam, which has never been permitted. It’s terrible when such buildings catch fire.”
Fire fighters kept watch all night, making sure rolls of hay stacked close to the ruins would not catch fire.