Paradise Twp. barn fire

A 95-year-old barn at Verdant View Farms, east of Strasburg, burns in a second-alarm fire on April 11, 2018, in a photo by Bart Fire Company photographer Steve Sios.

The owner of a 95-year-old former dairy barn destroyed by fire Wednesday evening in Paradise Township said his family is discussing how best to rebuild.

Don Ranck, who co-owns Verdant View Farms with his family, said the barn at 429 Strasburg Road is a total loss.

“It went up like a pack of matches,” he said. “The west wind, blowing through the barn, fed it, and the dry wood just went.”

Strasburg Fire Chief John F. Stoltzfus estimated the loss Thursday at $250,000 to the barn and the adjacent house, garage and tobacco shed — which suffered heat damage — and $100,000 to the contents of the barn.

About 15 fire companies responded to the second-alarm fire, which was near the intersection of Route 741 and Gap Road, just east of Strasburg Rail Road.

Stoltzfus said the fire’s cause has not been confirmed, but it appears to be electrical in nature. He said it likely started in a brooder for newborn chicks.

Ranck said about 100 chicks died in the fire, as did one bull. The family — with the help of several neighbors who saw the smoke — was able to save 65 head of cattle that were in the barn when the fire started, he said.

“Scooby, our dog, is fine,” he said with a chuckle. “He wasn’t in the barn.”

Most importantly, Ranck said, there were no human injuries in the fire.

Firefighters arrived just in time to douse the house, where vinyl siding was already melting in the heat, he said.

The house, which also serves as a bed and breakfast, is fine, Ranck said.

He said the family is working with an insurance adjuster to determine how much of the damage is covered. He said insurance won’t pay to rebuild the barn in its original post-and-beam style, however.

The family has started a YouCaring fundraising campaign to rebuild. The campaign has already raised more than $3,000.

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