GREENVILLE, Pa. — The Miklos family are the kind of dairy farmers who like to do most things themselves — the labor, cow care and whatever else needs done.
But when cars and trucks lined their driveway following a devastating fire Aug. 2, the help became a blessing.
A major fire destroyed their Amazing Grace Dairy barn during the night, along with their herd of about 120 Holstein dairy cattle, several thousand bales of hay and some farm equipment.
The Miklos have insurance, but are still assessing the loss, and how much their insurance will cover toward a new, modern dairy building. The fire remains under investigation.
The Miklos believe the fire was caused by a lightning strike. There was a storm the same night, and Tammy Miklos awoke in the night when she discovered her home air conditioner had stopped working, due to a power outage.
She then noticed the fire at the barn and called 9-1-1, shortly before 3 a.m. The family ran to each door on the barn, but Tammy said the heat and fire were so strong, they couldn’t get inside.
Built on faith
Richard (Rick) Miklos and his wife, Tammy, had started the farm in 1987, and made various improvements and updates along the way. Today, they operate it with their son, Rick Miklos, and daughter, Reba Miklos.
They named it Amazing Grace Dairy, because of their faith in God and his guidance through difficult times.
“We would never have gotten as far as we have, if it was not for God, and he will see us through this, we know that,” said Tammy Miklos. “We have to keep our faith and trust in Him.”
The barn was about 22,000 square feet and was set up as a tie-stall barn — a facility in which the cows have their own stalls, and are kept in their stalls with a chain.
Tammy said two cows did manage to escape, but under veterinary guidance, the Miklos decided to send them to processing.
Matthew Goodemote, a captain with the Transfer Volunteer Fire Department, said they were the second truck on scene, but the barn was already fully engulfed and the barn had collapsed in on itself.
The strategy became one of “surround and drown,” he said, to protect nearby structures from damage. The West Salem Volunteer Fire Department did not return calls seeking comment.
The Miklos family finished burying the cows over the weekend, in a grave behind the barn, dug with the help of friends, family and neighboring farmers.
“We’re heartbroken,” Tammy said.
She said the cows were almost like family, and they wanted to give them a proper burial on the farm.
Reba Miklos gathered some flowers in their honor and the family is still grieving the loss.
“God will take care of us; He will see us through this,” Tammy said.
They’re not yet sure if they’ll rebuild, but if they do, they want it to be away from the original barn — to give the herd and their grave respect.
Responding fire departments included Transfer Volunteer Fire Department, South Pymatuning, West Salem, Hermitage, and the Trumbull County tanker task force.
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