Dozens of Calves Die in Sandusky Dairy Farm Fire

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) - As many as 50 young calves died in a dairy farm fire that also destroyed a milking parlor, fire officials said.

Firefighters were hampered by subzero temperatures early Monday that turned water from their hoses into ice and froze valves and hoses on the trucks.

The fire destroyed the milking equipment owned by the Hermes Dairy Farm, an operation that has been in the same family for about 150 years.

The farm was where the Toft Dairy began in 1900. Toft's is now known for its ice cream sold throughout Ohio.

Toft's gets about 2 percent of its milk from the farm, said company spokesman Eugene Meisler.

Dave Hermes, who runs the farm with his brothers, said there are only about six dairy farms still operating in Erie County.

"It makes you sick, it sure does," he said. "You don't know what your next move is supposed to be."

The young calves killed ranged in age from newborn to three months. They were in pens, and most were too young to run out on their own.

"There's no way you could have got them out, unless you were here two hours before it started," Dave Hermes said.

Firefighters were able to save a herd of 100 dairy cows. Fire officials don't know caused the fire.