By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

A huge fire laid waste to a feed barn at the end of Lower Lake Road on Thursday.

The Alexandre Dairy, owned by Blake and Stephanie Alexandre, was buzzing with fire crews from several agencies yesterday as they tried to extinguish the blaze.

The whole thing went up in 15 minutes, said Lonnie Walker, who was riding his motorcycle on Highway 101 when he saw the smoke and decided to investigate. I came up behind the first fire truck that rolled in, and there was already fire coming out of everywhere. You could see the flames from Lake Earl.

Aside from fire crews from Fort Dick, Smith River, Crescent City and the California Department of Forestry, the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department, the California Highway Patrol and Del Norte Ambulance also responded to the blaze.

At one point during the battle, firefighters and a photographer had to scramble when transformers atop a utility pole began crackling and exploding over their heads, shooting sparks in several directions.

According to dairy employees on the scene, there were no known injuries associated with the blaze and all employees, approximately 40 in number, were accounted for.

The two ambulances on the scene were precautionary, said Deputy Frank Villarreal, because it was unknown if anyone might be inside the building at the time.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but Stephanie Alexandre said the flashpoint is known.

We know it started in an area where we store a lot of straw hay, and there are electrical lines running through that area, she said.

The actual monetary damages are unknown at the moment but Alexandre said the loss of the dairys mechanic shop will be difficult to cope with.

That was a major loss, she said. We had several tractors in there, pumps and a feed wagon. But one crucial thing for us is we will be able to save a lot of our silage.

The roof on the southern end of the building collapsed and only burned the top layer of the silage, which is used to feed the livestock.

The great thing is all the help everybody in the community has been giving us, she said. It is an outpouring of love.