A family with ties to St. Michael Catholic Church and Catholic School is suffering tonight after a major fire damaged a barn and riding arena, caused injuries to one person and reportedly took the lives of livestock on the property.
Grace Farms was hit by the fire late Monday after a wave of storms came through the area. It’s not known at this time if the blaze was sparked by lightning, as the cause is officially under investigation.
Through social media, farm owner Becca Leatherdale reported her husband, Chris, was working to save animals in the barn area and was badly burned. He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center, according to her post on Facebook. That was also confirmed via e-mail sent to farm families who ride on the property, stable horses at Grace Farms and lease livestock from the family.
The Leatherdale family is enrolled at St. Michael Catholic Church, with children that attend the parochial school in St. Michael. Chris is the son of longtime Twin Cities business magnate and horse owner Doug Leatherdale, who passed away in late 2015 at the age of 79.
Multiple agencies responded to the fire, which had to be battled with tender trucks, as no hydrants are in that portion of Rogers – formerly Hassan Township. St. Michael assisted Rogers Fire Department, which headed up the call. Osseo, Hanover and other agencies assisted, including the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and Life Flight.
North Wright County Today will have more on this story as it develops, including any possible fundraisers for the Leatherdale family.
Editor’s note: The North Wright County Today founder is immediately tied to Grace Farms personally, as family members have received lessons and attended camp hosted by the Leatherdale family.