EAST WINDSOR -- Drivers on I-84 east were able to see huge flames coming from East Windsor on Wednesday night.
That was because a fire ripped through a large barn on Niederwefer Road.
The decades-old structure is a total loss--but in the middle of the destruction, rescue crews said they found a "glimmer of hope. "
As firefighters were battling the barn flames, a mother cow gave birth to a calf.
"One of the cows that was in the field next to the building apparently was pregnant and decided it was going to be the perfect time to give birth," said Deputy Chief James Bancroft, of the Broad Brook Fire Department. "The calf was covered with a little bit of soot and smoke stained, so it didn't appear that it was acting normal."
Firefighters grabbed a never-before-used pet oxygen mask and fit it over the newborn's snout.
"I think it's the first time we had a birth at a fire scene," said Bancroft, who added that the calf toddled away after about 15 minutes.
The East Windsor Police Department shared a video of the rescue to their Facebook page.
Farm owner Don Rabida said the baby was doing well on Thursday. But his barn wasn't so lucky.
"We lost everything. Everything from shovels to pitchforks to the buckets to medicine for the cows," Rabida said. "This was our living. This was our source of income."
About 25 goats are unaccounted for, and are believed to have died in the fire.
"Everything was set free. They just had to run out and some of them were just too scared and confused," Rabida said.
Rebuilding will likely cost more than $100,000, family members said.
A GoFundMe page has been setup to raise money.
At the very least, the calf rescue is a "baby" step forward for the family.
"That was good news, yea, yea, that was good news," Rabida said.
The farmers usually host an annual hay ride for profit. They said it is still on this Saturday, but proceeds will be used to help them rebuild. More information is here.