According to ABC, it took 10 fire crews more than two hours to fully extinguish the fire after it broke out around 3 a.m. local time.
A spokesman from the Country Fire Authority told Daily Mail Australia that the fire had “completely shredded the building.”
Country Fire Authority Gippsland commander Chris Loeschenkohl said the crew had to be wary of “projectiles” coming at them while they tackled the blaze.
“The liquid inside the cylinders was rapidly expanding and essentially the lids of the cryogenic cylinders were just popping off the top and projectiles were being thrown from the building,” he told ABC.
“So firefighters went into a defensive mode initially to protect themselves, because there were also LPG cylinders at the neighboring property, and they did a magnificent job.”
Loeschenkohl added that he has never had “anything to do with the artificial insemination (AI) side of things before” during his career.
Yarram Herd Services Committee vice chairman Aaron Thomas said the loss of 100 cryogenic cylinders of cattle semen will be a “huge blow” for the farmers.
“The actual cylinders are worth between $500 (U.S. $342) and $1,000 per unit but the semen inside them varies in price,” he said.
“We’re coming into the AI season so there would have been substantial amounts of semen inside the tanks that we’ve lost, which was owned by our local farmers, and it can range in value from $5 per straw to $95 per straw.”
Thomas said the farmers have also lost a lot of equipment as a result of the fire.
“So this is significant damage and it is going to have a flow-on effect on Yarram, especially after the drought that Yarram district has experienced over the last 12 months.”
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