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Fire kills dairy cows in Perth, destroys barn

PERTH - The owner of the Korona Farm on Route 107 in Perth says his family saved about ninety dairy cows after a fire started in a milking barn early Friday evening. Stanley Korona, a former highway superintendent, said about thirty-five died. No one was injured. Fire investigators have not said what might have started the fire. Korona suspects it was an electrical problem.

Korona said he's been running the business since the mid-60s and said his grandsons now have an interest in following in their father's footsteps and building up the business with freestall barns - barns designed so that cows are kept out of restraints, with easy access to food and water. It was unclear Friday to what degree the fire might hinder those plans.

Stanley Korona, Jr. said he smelled smoke and thought it must be coming from outside the barn, then saw it rising up through the roof. In ten minutes, he says, the barn was in flames.

The elder Korona said the property is insured but he was unsure how much of the loss would be covered. The surviving cows were taken to another dairy farm nearby where the owner was planning to tend them, at least temporarily.

Tankers from more than a dozen firehouses lined the part of Route 107 leading to the farm. Perth Fire Chief Peter Watrobski said it was fortunate firefighters were able to keep fire out of two silos and prevent a potential collapse.