By Chad Koenen
Stephen and Brittany Springer will never forget Christmas Eve 2020—for all of the wrong reasons. A fire destroyed a barn with over 1,000 goats, 2-3 tractors and hay nearby in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve.
The family operates Cornerstone Farm, which includes a goat milking operation, pasture raised chickens and pork, grass fed beef and organically grown produce, just a stones throw away from their home.
At approximately 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, Brittany Springer heard a loud noise and headed downstairs to investigate. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but on her way back to bed the power went out in the house. That’s when she noticed a massive glow of the barn fire outside.
“When I got back to our bedroom then I could see our window was glowing. I looked outside and it was the barn,” she said.
She called 911, but by the time the crews could get to the rural farm, it was already too late. The Henning Fire Department responded just a few minutes after receiving the call and were on the scene for several hours. They were assisted by the Henning Ambulance, Ottertail Fire Department and the Deer Creek Fire Department, many of whom showed extra compassion and care for the tragic fire that happened the day before Christmas.
No one was hurt and there’s still no word on the cause of the fire. Investigators say it doesn’t appear to be suspicious.
“We are definitely thankful for all of (their support). It was great to see the firefighters weren’t just there to do their job they genuinely cared. They stopped by and said we are sorry (about the fire),” said Brittany. “It’s a small community in a small area so everyone knows everybody so some of the firefighters are friends.”
While the family still struggles with the thought of having to rebuild their livelihood on the farm, Brittany said one of the most difficult parts of the experience was having to tell their six employees they would be out of work during the holidays.
“That’s been one of the hardest things is the friendships you have with your employees and everyone,” said Brittany.
She said the family is planning to rebuild the barn and farm, but how it may look has yet-to-be-determined.
“We have to (rebuild), it’s our life. We built this farm from the ground up, it’s not something we took over. We built everything,” she said.
Several options for helping the family during this tragic time are available. A donation can be made to their Venmo account at Cornerstone-Farm or by visiting their website at www.cornerstonefarmmn.com.