Eight livestock killed, $500K in damage from early-morning blaze at Sebringville’s Luckhart Transport

Eight livestock killed, $500K in damage from early-morning blaze at Sebringville’s Luckhart Transport
Stratford Beacon Herald

The cause is still unknown, but the early-morning blaze that destroyed part of a family-owned Sebringville livestock trucking company has inflicted $500,000 in damage.

In addition to losing the buildings, Perth East and West Perth fire Chief Bill Hunter said eight animals – four cows and four goats – were killed in the fire that turned a section of Luckhart Transport into rubble. It was spotted around 1 a.m. Wednesday and company president Doug Luckhart, who lives nearby, was on the scene a couple of minutes later.

“It was fully engulfed,” said Luckhart, who was notified by some employees and managed to beat firefighters to the location. “It’s a total loss, 100 per cent total loss.”

Luckhart said they were able to save about 20 animals.

“Pretty good ratios, but we did lose a few,” he said.

Staff and neighbours used spare trailers to temporarily shelter the spared animals.

“They’re very well-housed and we had them all under housing before nightfall,” Luckhart said. “We moved quickly and had a lot of people helping us out and a lot of people offering their help.”

The burned-down building, meanwhile, was 80 feet wide and over 250 feet long, Hunter said.

“Sebringville got on scene first, obviously, they said there was fire from one end of the building to the other,” he said. “You just try and protect anything that’s not burning around it.”

He added an investigation is ongoing, but a cause will be difficult to determine.

“A building that size with that much damage, we probably aren’t going to come up with a definitive cause,” Hunter said. “It’s not deemed suspicious.”

Luckhart, though, has a hunch it was electrical.

“There was no other combustible stuff or propane heaters or anything like that,” he said. “That’s the only thing that would come to mind, but where and when and what it was, we can’t determine that.”

He saw firsthand how quickly it was engulfed.

“Some of that wood’s been drying for decades,” he said. “Of course what do we store but hay, straw and sawdust, and that all burns pretty fast.”

Excavators were called in to pull steel apart while firefighters – the Milverton station also responded – kept temperatures down with water.

But the building on the other side of the lot, including an office, was spared, which means “it’s business as usual,” Luckhart said. The company has around 25 tractor-trailers that haul livestock and, when factoring in a fabricating shop, around 50 employees.

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