Fire tears through turkey barn in Clay Township
BY LARRY ALEXANDER, Staff Writer
A trash fire left unattended destroyed a Clay Township barn in a two-alarm blaze that left one firefighter injured, officials said.
Monday's two-alarm fire gutted the 150-foot-long barn on the J. Paul Hursh farm, 185 W. Burkholder Drive.
Lincoln Fire Company Chief Randy Gockley said a trash fire lit by the property owners in a field behind the barn earlier in the day appeared to be the cause of the blaze.
"They went in for lunch, and when they looked out their window, they saw the back half of the barn was fully involved," Gockley said.
The wood-frame barn, which was covered by aluminum siding, was quickly consumed by the flames, with smoke visible three miles away in Ephrata.
Damage was estimated at $200,000.
One firefighter was injured.
"I do not have a report on his type of injury, but it does not seem serious at this point," Gockley said.
Gockley told reporters the barn was used to house turkeys, but none was inside it at the time.
A large dairy barn filled with cattle is close to the turkey barn, which, Gockley said, caused some initial concern as Monday's brisk wind stoked the flames. Luckily, firefighters were able to keep the flames away from the dairy barn.
Shortly after the first alarm was called at 12:36 p.m., a second alarm was sounded. Gockley said he called in a second alarm out of a need for more water tankers.
"The first alarm was for four stations and four tankers," Gockley said. "Due to the large amount of water we needed, the second alarm brought in four more tankers."
A fill site was set up at PaulB Hardware Store, 50 Wood Corner Road, where the closest fire hydrant was located.
As smoke billowed from the charred ruins of the barn, Gockley said firefighters would remain on the scene for quite a while.
"The roof has totally collapsed into the structure, so we'll be here for several more hours, wetting down hot spots," he said.
Gockley said the fire could have been avoided.
"We urge people to absolutely pay attention to open-burning regulations when it's windy like this," he said. "The National Weather Service declared today as a high-hazard day for open burning. This is a classic example of what can happen. This could have been avoided."