Fire destroys 3 barns in Bayliss, farmer feels economic impacts

A farmer in Glenn County is struggling to keep business afloat after a fire destroyed 3 of his barns. Action News Now reporter Jafet Serrato shares his story.

Posted: Nov 15, 2019 9:54 AM
Updated: Nov 15, 2019 12:14 PM

GLENN COUNTY, Calif. - A farmer in Glenn County is struggling to keep business afloat after a fire destroyed 3 of his barns. 

"These two barns were fully engulfed I can't believe how fast it was," said Dave Gomes, the owner of Gomes Dairy.

Dave Gomes describes the moment a fire exploded and destroyed his three barns in Bayliss. He said he was watching Saturday night TV with his wife when it happened.

"My wife ran right out to the chickens, I got some shoes and stuff and headed to the back of the barn where my hired man had some calves and steers," Gomes said.

Nine calves to be exact, the fire killed three of them and left a path of destruction.

Dave said the fire burned about $41,000 worth of hay, that loss of revenue for his ranch, now he only has these stacks of hay for the rest of the year.

Dave is now picking up the pieces, he's a third-generation dairy farmer.

"My grandfather bought the place in 1943 my dad was a senior in high school and the third barn over here behind me was the only building other than the house that was on the place when they moved here," Gomes said.

From there on out he's milked more than 300 cows but a tough setback five years ago forced him to sell his cattle.

"It's amazing how much money goes through a dairy through a monthly basis I mean its just you're buying hay, you're buying equipment, you're working on equipment, you have veterinary bills and you're supporting a lot of people but there's just not a lot of money left by the time you're supporting everybody else," Gomes said.

Dave said his farm produces a lot of corn and hay for Glenn County his family's only source of income.

Dave is now walking towards an uncertain future.

"Barns aren't needed the way they were I probably will put something up for some hay storage I have no idea what I'm going to do," Gomes adds "we built this third barn in the middle because it was always a big mud hole. my dad wanted to get rid of the mud hole so we built a barn for hay storage."

He sees his construction mistakes and also, a silver lining.

"We knew if we ever had a fire we were probably going to lose all three of them. Luckily it didn't happen while we still had cows cause it pretty would've been really devastating," Gomes said.

Gomes said he had the three barns insured, but isn't confident that he will be fully compensated for the damage.

The Willows Fire Department said the cause is still being investigated.

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