Donaldson Farms reamins open after destructive barn fire, ruled accidental

MANSFIELD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (Warren County) – A barn fire Friday night didn’t stop the Donaldson family and staff from continuing its activities at Donaldson Farms on Saturday.

The First Responders Appreciation Day event in recognition of Sunday’s 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the sunflower tours went on as planned Saturday.

“The farm stand will remain open and all planned events will take place as scheduled, owner of Donaldson Farms Greg Donaldson, said.

On Saturday, Warren County Fire Marshal Joe Lake has ruled the blaze accidental.

“It was caused when bales of straw were ignited by sparks from a grinder being used to cut bolts off a horse trailer,” Lake said.

Greg Donaldson said his daughter and another worker were restoring a trailer in the barn and a spark from that work ignited the fire. She did suffer minor burns to her arm during the effort to try and contain the fire.

There were bales of hay, along with pallets stacked with cardboard used to form boxes for packaging, few acetylene tanks and equipment inside the barn.

“It had tons and tons of equipment inside the barn,” Donaldson said.

The losses were still coming Saturday morning, “I went looking for a shovel only to remember it had been in the barn,” Donaldson told RNJ.

Donaldson anticipates that the barn was underinsured.

“We have received a lot of support from area farmers and individuals,” Donaldson said. “I want to thank all of the first responders that came out Friday night.”

Donaldson said he wishes he could do something for all his neighbors in the Sunny View development that had to deal with the smoke until after midnight.

The fall season at Donaldson Farms starts September 26 and runs thru October 31. Fall actitives include the corn maze, hayrides, pick-your-own pumpkins & Indian corn and more.

For more information about Donaldson Farms go to www.donaldsonfarms.net.

This fire marked the third barn destroyed in Warren County this year. A tornado destroyed a White Township barn on July 14 and straight-line winds knocked down a barn in Franklin Township on July 18.

For photos and a video of the destructive barn fire, click HERE.

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By: Jay Edwards
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