The barn destroyed by fire early Friday morning at Curt and Lori Kleinschmidt's dairy farm on Thompson Road contained more than just livestock. It contained decades of memories for Charles "Bud" and Gail Sedlachek.
The longtime residents of Long Lake Township spent most of their lives working at the farm. Gail Sedlachek was born there, her husband said Friday.
"Bud" Sedlachek, 70, said his family bought the farm from her grandfather's estate in 1952, when he was 14. He worked alongside his father and eventually bought the operation, selling the dairy herd to Kleinschmidt, his nephew, about five years ago. Sedlachek continued to work the "crop end" of the operation, growing food for the cows.
Neighbors and friends responded to offer help Friday morning at the dairy farm run by Curt and Lori Kleinschmidt on Thompson Road, south of Brainerd where a fire claimed an estimated 60 to 70 cows. See the video at www.brainerddispatch.com.
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Brainerd Dispatch/Mike O'Rourke
Sedlachek said that between 65 and 70 cows were lost. He estimated his nephew had another 50 head of young stock used for replacement or breeding.
"It's kind of devastating," Sedlachek said.
He said the original barn was built by his wife's family in 1923. His family took it over in 1952.
"Nobody got hurt," he said. "It's never so bad that it couldn't be worse."
Sedlachek said he felt particularly bad for the Kleinschmidts. Curt Kleinschmidt had milked his cows early that morning and was driving down to the Twin Cities to pick up his wife when the fire was reported, shortly after 7 a.m. Lori Kleinschmidt had been recovering from a stroke, Sedlachek said.
SPOTTED: » Thompson Road Dairy barn fire
Alert neighbors called the fire department and alerted the Sedlacheks to the fire. Many of the neighbors, including John Westerberg and Steve Sievek, stopped by to lend emotional support to the Sedlacheks. There was not much else they could do. Sedlachek said when he got to the barn the flames were already leaping up the walls.
Brainerd Fire Chief Fred Underhill said about 20 firefighters and seven trucks were on the scene. North Ambulance was on standby. The state fire marhshal was at the scene, Nisswa firefighters stood by at the Brainerd fire hall and the Garrison Fire Department sent two tankers. Crow Wing County deputies were also on the scene.
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