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Fire destroyed a large hay barn and its contents west of Albion Friday, as well as damaging a second building.

Six fire departments combined forces to battle the blaze, which broke out on a farm at 3785 W 270 N. A neighbor noticed the fire and called it in at 11:22 a.m., and by then a large column of smoke could already be seen from miles away.

A child playing with matches is believed to have been the cause of the blaze.

Responders arrived to find a barn measuring about 40 by 100 feet engulfed in flames, which had begun spreading into a second, attached structure that itself was attached to a milkhouse. By taking hoses inside the second building firefighters were able to stop the spread of flames, saving the milkhouse and other nearby structures, although the attached building sustained heavy damage.

Cattle were moved out of harms way and no one, human or animal, was injured during the incident.

Equipment lost inside the burning structure included a tractor, bushhog, four hay wagons, and a large amount of hay and straw. The building's metal roof and walls collapsed, making it difficult to reach the blaze; heavy equipment was brought in by Forker's Excavating to pull the mounds of hay and straw apart, so firefighters could reach and extinguish the flames.

Other firefighters stood by downwind, where burning embers started several small spot fires in a hay field.

The fire was declared under control in about 35 minutes, but it took another three hours to finish extinguishing the stubborn blaze.

Two dozen emergency vehicles manned by about 40 firefighters were involved in the operation, including several tankers that shuttled water to the scene. The Albion, Cromwell, Kendallville, Ligonier, Noble Township, and Orange Township fire departments sent trucks and manpower to the scene; the Churubusco, Johnson Township, North Webster provided standby units at empty fire stations.

Also assisting at the scene were the Noble County EMS and Sheriff's Department, Noble REMC, and Mick Newton of the Noble County Emergency Management Agency.


All that remains of a tractor, once the barn it was in burned away. This gave us the duel fun of fighting a structure fire and vehicle fire at the same time.




Heavy equipment was used to break apart two piles of hay and straw bales, stacked to the roof -- when there was a roof.




You might think a metal building would be less of a problem than wood in a fire, but it just meant more danger from collapse and having to move the twisted sheet metal in order to get to the flames.




Smoke? Yeah, we got smoke.




A four wheel drive brush truck is stationed downwind of the fire, where burning embers caused several spot fires in a hay field.


Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
kazzy_cee
Jul. 23rd, 2007 06:54 am (UTC)
Child, matches, lots of dry hayfield.. hmmm parents need slapping evidently!
ozma914
Jul. 23rd, 2007 08:53 am (UTC)
slapping the parents
Hm, maybe. I recall another little kid playing with matches in his barn, who could just as easily burned down the place himself despite the fact that his parents tried hard to teach him right from wrong. And when my dad caught me -- um, him -- he walloped the hell out of me. Him.

Sometimes even good kids do bad things, and even good parents have good kids who do bad things. Considering this is a farm family, I'm willing to bet they're at least better than average.
yume_kokoro
Jul. 23rd, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC)
Child playing with matches. Nightmare! There are some things that kids will do... No matter how much they know they shouldn't.

I recall running around with a burning plastic bottle at the end of a stick when I was little, courtesy of a bonfire.

Pretty sure I'd have been in for a spanking if I'd gotten caught. To this day I have a very tiny scar where the melting plastic dripped on my palm... pretty sure there's still a tiny speck of melted plastic fused into my skin...
ozma914
Jul. 24th, 2007 06:39 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, I was like that too -- fire, fireworks, the occasional explosive; my brother and I were quite the hazardous pair. Luckily, we didn't have any close neighbors. If we were growing up today, we'd be in therapy and the police would have extensive files on us. Since it was the 70's, my dad simply caught me playing with fire one day and whipped the tar out of me. Problem solved -- I never played with fire again. (But I kept it up with the fireworks.)
autum1
Jul. 23rd, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
Good, there werent any people/animals harmed. Whew.
ozma914
Jul. 24th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)
The adjoining barn was actually full of cows when the fire broke out, but the farmers and their neighbors were able to geet them moved. Too bad they couldn't have moved all the cow droppings -- we had a lot of cleaning up to do afterward, and now the fire station smells like a dairy farm. :-0
darsynia
Jul. 23rd, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
Good Gracious! I'm pleased to hear no one was hurt, that looks frightening. Great pictures, by the way--I've been fangirling them, hehe.

I hope your vacation was otherwise enjoyable!
ozma914
Jul. 24th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
It wasn't so frightening to me, except for the one time when the wall with all the burning hay bales leaning against it fell over my way, and since I'd been expecting that it wasn't too much of a problem. The frightening ones are when you have an interior fire inside a big, solid building, where you have to enter and search out the seat of the fire.

You're fangirling fire pictures? :-)
fangfaceandrea
Jul. 23rd, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
You might think a metal building would be less of a problem than wood in a fire, but it just meant more danger from collapse and having to move the twisted sheet metal in order to get to the flames.


Souds like fun. wow! I guess now we no why we really shouldn't let kids play with fire.
ozma914
Jul. 24th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
playing with fire
We have a guy on our department -- Phil Jacob, who I believe is one of only two who's been on longer than me at this point -- who's our Fire Prevention Officer. Fireman Phil has done a wonderful job of getting to kids, and has probably saved more lives and property than anyone else on the department combined ... but you just can't get to all the kids.
missmurchison
Jul. 24th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're safe.

It's not just kids who play with fire. I've heard of fires that bad starting because people didn't keep an eye on burning trash.
ozma914
Jul. 24th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
burning trash
Well, they don't call that "playing" with fire, although it really is; but that kind of fire happens all the time around here. Trash, brush piles, fence rows, leaves -- they *could* be burned safely, but people don't have respect for what fire can do until after they get burned.

My favorite example was when we got to a scene and found a fire burning in a field, around three sides of a guy's house -- the guy showed up at his front door soaking wet, in a towel, insisting it was a controlled burn. He was "controlling" it from his bathtub!
missmurchison
Jul. 24th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Re: burning trash
That sounds typical. There was a farmer near one of the offices where I worked who lost control of his trash burns at least once a year. A friend of mine told me about her neighbors whose house was lost when they went out for dinner leaving some trash burning. After the house was rebuilt, she spotted them leaving again, with sparks shooting out of a barrel not far from the garage.

I'd trust some kids more than those adults.
ozma914
Jul. 25th, 2007 09:47 am (UTC)
Re: burning trash
Age has nothing to do with common sense, that much is clear. We, too, have our frequent fliers who just can't seem to get the point. In 1988 I was first on the scene to the largest brush fire my department has fought since I joined; later that evening I passed by the scene, and the guy who started it was out burning again. You just want to tattoo "stupid" on their foreheads.
(Deleted comment)
ozma914
Jul. 24th, 2007 06:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, digging down into that stuff and getting it all put out is a mess ... since it's outside by that point we don't wear air packs, but we really should -- there's plenty of smoke to go around.

Six, huh? I don't know how old I was when I started playing with a little fire out in our barn (where there fortunately was a dirt floor); but I certainly remember not being able to sit down for a week when my dad caught me!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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