Wildland fire season started in Noble County last week and it's already taken its first victim, in the form of a building destroyed in a wind blown fire between Rome City and Kendallville Thursday.
A chicken coop owned by David and Better Kammerer, at 8766 N 550 E, was leveled by flames that spread from a brush fire at about 3:25 p.m., according to the Orange Township Fire Department. Spread by the wind, the blaze then spread to a next door property owned by Marion Becker. There it reportedly burned a shed and damaged a garage, trailer, boat and other property before being brought under control about an hour later.
Firefighters from the Kendallville, Orange Township, Johnson Township, and Avilla Fire Departments had to not only protect the neighboring property and extinguish the chicken coop fire, but also chase the wildfire down as it spread into a nearby woods. Fire units remained on the scene until about 5:15 p.m. Several other fire departments were placed on standby during the incident.
It was one of nine grass, brush or field fires reported to the Noble County Sheriff's Department last week, although no major damage was reported in the others. Albion fire trucks were called to the area of SR 9 and CR 600 N Tuesday, but the property owner was able to control the spread of flames just before they arrived. A similar situation happened Wednesday when they responded to 4612 N 300 E, but were turned back before arriving when the property owner was able to douse the flames.
Most of the other fires reported last week were very small or out on arrival, due partly to still damp conditions and mild winds. However, officials are again reminding local residents to use extreme care when they burn anything. They're also asked to notify the Noble County Sheriff's Department if they're planning any controlled burn, to cut down on false alarms.