Fire officials, friends and family arrived to Herda Farms Wednesday to help pick up the pieces Wednesday in the Town of Wheatland (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Herda Farms afflicted by fire Tuesday

By Jason Arndt

The sooner a local family can clean up after Tuesday’s devastating fire, the easier they can put the painful experience behind them, and start the healing process.

Sunnyview Dairy Farm, owned by the same family since 1908, was afflicted with a four-alarm blaze Tuesday morning that caused extensive damage to the property on 4602 Highway 83 in the Town of Wheatland.

Rachael (Herda) Crane, the sister of Ben Herda, who is the fourth-generation owner of the farm, said Tuesday’s fire was terrifying.

“It is all overwhelming, to be quite honest, this is every dairy farmer’s worst nightmare,” she said.

The overwhelming experience started before 10:30 a.m., when dry and windy conditions sparked a fire near a silo, which spread to other structures on the farm.

Including Kenosha County, agencies from Racine, Walworth, McHenry (Ill.) and Lake (Ill.) counties arrived to help the Town of Wheatland battle the blaze.

“It actually jumped the highway and started a neighbors field on fire,” Crane said. “It was very scary, but kudos to the fire departments here, working their butts off.”

“The fire departments were great in putting those fires out.”

The animals, meanwhile, were unharmed.

Since the milking barn was destroyed, area farmers arrived to the scene, where they transported the cows to an area farm.

Herda Farms, the site of the 2015 Kenosha County Dairy Breakfast, also saw four of its six silos destroyed along with a barn designated for the sheep.

While the family hopes to rebuild, Crane extended gratitude to the community, which has offered unconditional support and love since the blaze.

“Everyone around here has been so great, it is such a nice community,” she said.

Additionally, the farming community continues to pitch in.

To read the complete story see the May 10 edition of the Twin Lakes Report.


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