3 months after devastating barn fire, Donaldson family continues to rebuild

MANSFIELD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (Warren County) – Progress on a new barn at Donaldson Farm Market is moving ahead, aided by an outpouring of community support that followed a devastating fire in September.

The fire was reported on Friday, September 10 at 5:00 p.m. and firefighters from surrounding towns battled the blaze. The fire destroyed the 100 X 60 ft. barn that housed bales of hay, along with pallets stacked with cardboard used to form boxes for packaging and equipment.

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“All of us are beyond appreciative for our local responders, fireman, EMT’s who tended to our family members and all who battled and contained the fire,” Donaldson family said.

The blaze was ruled accidental. “It was caused when bales of straw were ignited by sparks from a grinder being used to cut bolts off a horse trailer,” Warren County Fire Marshal Joe Lake said.

The First Responders Appreciation Day event and the sunflower tours went on as planned that Saturday.

“Working on pure adrenaline, we were able to operate our farm market the day following the fire,” Donaldson family said.

Farmers offered the Donaldson’s everything from their own equipment to apple picking bags and so many critical farming supplies in between. The majority of their crops were in the harvest stage in September, so they were able to continue.

“We still have a long way to go. The time and energy spent on cleaning up and re-evaluating our situation after the fire forced us to put many routine farming projects aside. We often discussed the real possibility of not being able to operate as usual in 2017,” Donaldson family said.

The Donaldson family will keep busy this winter trying to catch up.

“It was your thoughtfully written cards in the mail, stopping to offer a hug, phone calls, patronage, texts, contributions and overall neighborhood support that inspired us to move forward,” Donaldson family said.

Information about Donaldson Farms, visit their website at donaldsonfarms.net.

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By: Jay Edwards
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