UPDATE: ISU farm manager hailed as hero for saving cattle from barn fire

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 5:40 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2022 at 9:50 AM CST
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UPDATE 8:20 P.M. - The Illinois State University Farm released a statement on its Facebook page Friday evening praising Farm Manager Jason Lindbom for “heroically” rescuing cattle from the beef barn that caught fire overnight.

“He responded to the call in the middle of the night and heroically moved all of the cattle out of the barn and to safety,” the statement said.

The barn is 700 feet long, and half of the structure was lost to the fire, according to the statement.

“While we are all perplexed by the situation, we are very thankful that there are no reported injuries to humans or cattle,” the statement said.

About a dozen fire departments fought the fire for 12 hours during a very cold night and during the day.

“Thank you to our local producers and friends who have graciously taken the majority of our beef herd to their farms, while ISU works on a solution,” the statement said.

“Lastly, a thank you goes out to the farm staff and student workers, faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students that came out today to help. Everyone worked very hard today moving, sorting and hauling livestock amidst a very stressful situation. While we are saddened by the day’s events, we are happy that everyone is doing well and safe. The ISU Ag Department is a family, which was very apparent today.”

UPDATE (1:26 P.M. - In a post, Illinois State University is sending its gratitude to the many first responders and other partners who battled and managed the fire.

UPDATE 9:49 A.M. - The barn fire that started overnight at Illinois State University Farm in Lexington is expected to burn for some time. That’s according to a Lexington Fire Department spokesperson who says that could continue for the next couple of days.

The south half of the building housed square bales of straw. The spokesman says that’s the part of the building that will likely continue burn it’s also the part of the building that collapsed. An excavator is working to lift and loosen the straw while firefighters wet it down.

The barn also houses round hay bales. The spokesperson says they were able to save the north portion of the building.

The fire was called in about 12:40 a.m. by a McLean County Sheriff’s Office deputy who reportedly saw flames from the interstate on the east side of the massive barn.

The 1,000-foot-long barn houses about 150 cattle. Sources tell 25 News all the cattle are safe and despite the freezing temperatures, there are no other injuries.

Lexington Fire Department was assisted by Towanda, Chenoa, Gridley, Hudson, El Paso, Colfax, Cooksville, Fairbury, Pontiac and Normal fire departments. The McLean County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State University Police, Illinois State Police, the Illinois State Fire Marshal, and Corn Belt Energy also offered support. Stark Excavating is also assisting.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

LEXINGTON (25 News Now) - One building is completely collapsed due to a large fire on Illinois State University’s farm in Lexington.

As of 5:30 a.m. Friday, multiple fire companies are working to fight the fire that started around 1 a.m.

As firefighters try to put out the flames, thick smoke can be seen coming from the farm.

There is currently no report on any injuries nor animals hurt. In the past the farm has housed cows, pigs and sheep. It offers farming experience to students that attend Illinois State University.

This story will be updated.