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Fire destroys Williamsport barn, contents

March 22, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WILLIAMSPORT - A barn filled with 200 bales of hay was destroyed Tuesday night in a fire that burned for several hours.

The barn, on a farm at 11917 Snug Harbor Lane in Williamsport, caught fire when a spark ignited flammable liquid in a neighboring work shed, Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst said. The blaze caused $100,000 in damage to the barn and its contents.

The farm, which includes a home and several buildings, is behind the KOA Campground.

Ernst said someone in the work shed was working on a tractor, which caused a spark.

At least 60 firefighters still were working to extinguish the fire hours after it was reported about 7 p.m.

There were no reported injuries.

Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co. Deputy Chief Fred Cole said the first firefighters on the scene saw the barn fully involved in flames. Because the wooden pole barn was filled with baled hay, he said the fire was difficult to extinguish.

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A tractor and a trailer also were damaged by the fire. Other equipment was removed from the barn before it was damaged.

Firefighters used foam and water to extinguish the blaze. They used a ladder truck aerial device to pump foam onto the barn from above, Cole said.

"We're just soaking it," he said. "Foam is more effective than water."

One of the property owners was using one of his tractors to take burning hay from the barn and dump it onto the ground, where firefighters sprayed it with foam and water, Cole said.

He said all of the hay would have to be removed from the barn and extinguished that way. At 9:30 p.m., only about one quarter of the hay had been removed from the barn.

Cole said firefighters were using Conococheague Creek as a water source. Firetrucks were driven about a half-mile from the fire to the creek to fill up with water.

Cole said units from The Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway primarily were drafting the water from the creek.

"We're just shuttling the water," he said.

Firefighters from Williamsport, Clear Spring, Halfway, Maugansville, Funkstown, Mount Aetna, Boonsboro, Fairplay and Greencastle, Pa., were at the scene.

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