The Eastman family of Mannsville is expressing gratitude to the community for the response to this fire Thursday that destroyed their hay barn. Jonathon Wheeler/Watertown Daily Times

MANNSVILLE — The family whose barn burned to the ground Thursday evening is extending its appreciation and gratitude to the neighbors, first responders and business partners who helped in the immediate aftermath.

The Eastman family in the town of Ellisburg, longtime operators of a dairy farm in southern Jefferson County, suffered a loss on Thursday. One of their barns full of mostly hay and young cattle erupted into flames shortly after 5 p.m. on County Route 193, sending animals running in different directions. Several calves were lost in the fire, but the rallying effort by those close to the Eastmans left some bright side for the family.

Within minutes of the fire starting, neighbors were on scene to help get the surviving calves out of harm’s way. Feed companies and other business partners were on scene within hours to help make sure their milking operation didn’t halt. And the firefighters from several different departments made sure a hay fire burning hot didn’t spread to surrounding buildings.

“The Eastman family wanted me to convey their appreciation for their neighbors,” said Jay M. Matteson, the Jefferson County agriculture coordinator, speaking on behalf of the family. “They appreciate the outpouring of support.”

Mr. Matteson said that’s typical of the farming community, for people to show up to help almost immediately.

“It was very evident last night,” he said. “That’s the thing about farming. When something like this happens, a lot of times you don’t even make a phone call, the people you work with find out what’s happening and they show up on scene to help get your feet back up on the ground.”

While losing young calves is a significant loss, it wasn’t the Eastmans’ main barn that burned. They were actually able to get their milking operation up and running again within hours of the fire.

“That’s critical,” Mr. Matteson said. “It’s one of the big things these farms deal with when they have a fire. What is the impact on milking? It’s not a good thing for cows to go any length of time without being milked.”

To that end, Mr. Matteson stressed the respect he had for the Eastman family and how they treat their animals.

“They are good people who take such good care of their animals,” he said. “All things considered, they’re doing well and they just appreciate everyone’s outreach and all of the firefighters and emergency personnel that did a phenomenal job.”

The cause of the fire was still under investigation Friday morning.

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