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'It's a lot of loss'

Cars, machinery burn in barn fire

Cars, machinery burn in barn fire

February 22, 2006|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY

erinc@herald-mail.com

A fire that destroyed a barn south of Hagerstown on Tuesday caused the loss of about $150,000 in cars and machinery, according to its owner.

Maryland State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst said grass surrounding a barn at 18111 College Road caught fire, and it spread to the barn about 4:45 p.m. It was unclear Tuesday night what ignited the grass fire, Ernst said.

Luke Reichard, who owned the barn, said he used it for storage, keeping two race cars, tractors and other equipment there.

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"It's a lot of loss," Reichard said.

Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. Assistant Chief Steve Pifer said the barn was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

Christine Anthony, who lives on Larkspur Lane adjacent to Reichard's home, said she was outside gathering kindling when she heard several clicks. Then, she said, she heard an explosion.

"It was so loud," she said. "Then, the fire was up over the roof and over the side."

Anthony said she heard several smaller explosions, which she believed was the sound of tires popping after the fire reached them.

After Reichard saw the fire, he and others began dumping water on the flames and stomping the burning grass with their feet.

"The grass was burned almost up to the house," he said.

The house is about 50 feet from the barn.

Firefighters from Funkstown, Fairplay, Halfway and Williamsport fire companies responded. After putting out the blaze, they used chain saws to tear down what was left of the barn, Pifer said.

The fire was being investigated Tuesday night by the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

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