LONDON, ONT. -- A dairy farm fire near Aylmer Wednesday evening left dozens of cows dead, however due to the efforts of staff and firefighters more than 850 were saved from the fire that caused $3 million in damages.

The fire was on the property of Walker Dairy at the corner of Talbot Line and  Springfield Road.

Initial reports indicated everyone was able to get out of the affected buildings safely.

The blaze was discovered by a truck driver arriving at the property to pick up a load of cattle around 4:45 p.m.

Malahide Fire Chief Brent Smith tells CTV News that roughly 100 firefighters were on scene to help deal with the fire.

"We were able to start mounting our fire attack, at the same time there were crews assisting all the staff in getting the cattle out of the barn. There were some areas that were fully invovled at the time, that we couldn't obviously evacuate the cattle from," says Smith.

While the fire caused significant damage Smith estimates that $3-million worth of cattle were saved as a result of everyones efforts.

Staff and neighbours were able to round up and pen a number of the cattle and a steady stream of livestock carriers were seen taking animals away.

Unfortunately, at least 48 cows died in the fire according to John Walker, the owner's son.

"Pretty sure that it was around 48 head that we unfortunately lost, but we figure that we got closer to about 700 or so out safely."

Dairy Farm Fire

The Ontario Fire Marshal has been notified but Smith says they are unlikely to attend as they are confident the fire was electrical and began in the milk house.

Provincial police said in a release that the official cause remains under investigation.

The care of the scene has been given back to the owners of the property.