Eleven companies battle Pa. barn blaze

September 01, 2004|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A Tuesday morning fire destroyed an Antrim Township barn filled with hay, but 90 dairy heifers inside were saved, thanks to a neighbor's warning.

The fire at the farm of Marvin and Linda Long of 4251 Fletcher Drive was called in at 3:52 a.m., said 1st Lt. Dave Hann of the Greencastle Rescue Hose Co. It took about 90 minutes to bring the fire under control, and firefighters from 11 fire companies and departments assisted at the scene for about four hours, he said.

Linda Long said a neighbor from a nearby development had his dogs out and spotted smoke coming out of the barn.


"He saw a small amount of smoke and he said it all of a sudden lit up," Long said of the man.

"He told his wife to call the fire company and we woke up to him blowing his horn," Marvin Long said.

Linda Long said she did not want to give out the neighbors' names without their permission. They could not be reached Tuesday night by telephone.

"She was glowing when we got there," Hann said of the metal roof of the barn. He said several fire companies sent tanker trucks and water had to be relayed in from Conococheague Creek, about two miles away.

The cause of the fire had not been determined by Tuesday evening, but Hann said he does not believe it was suspicious. The Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal was notified, but Hann did not know if he had been to the farm.

The barn was filled with about 250 medium-size bales of hay, "the kind you need a skid loader to move," Marvin Long said. The barn also contained the heifers, which he said belong to another farmer.

Long said the cattle were in another part of the barn away from the fire and were safely removed. The only piece of equipment destroyed in the barn was a hay conveyor, he said.

Twelve hours after the fire was called in, Rescue Hose Co. firefighter Dave Walker still was playing a fire hose over smoldering mounds of hay as a front-end loader was scooping it out of the rubble and depositing it in an adjacent field.

Linda Long said Waste Management-Mountain View Reclamation in Upton, Pa., donated the use of the front-end loader and operator.

"Hay usually takes awhile to clean out and put out," said Deputy Chief Michael Luger.

Greencastle Rescue Hose Co. was assisted by firefighters from Mercersburg, Waynesboro, New Franklin, Marion and Mont Alto in Franklin County, Pa.; McConnellsburg in Fulton County, Pa.; and the Leitersburg, Maugansville, Long Meadow and Williamsport fire companies in Washington County, Hann said.

About 20 pieces of fire apparatus and 40 firefighters were at the scene, Hann said, and no injuries were reported.

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