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Fire destroys barn, contents

March 27, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

LAPPANS

A fire spread quickly through a barn filled with baled hay Sunday night on Lappans Road, resulting in more than $75,000 in damage.

The barn and its contents were destroyed, Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst said.

The owner of the barn at 17512 Lappans Road, just west of Saint James, was using a tractor to move hay inside the barn from a spot where the roof was leaking, Ernst said. As the farmer was transporting the hay, some fell on the exhaust and caught fire.

The fire quickly spread to the other bales, and soon the entire barn was engulfed in flames, he said.

Leonard Heller, chief of Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co., said when firefighters arrived at the home about 5 p.m., the entire structure was on fire and a smaller building nearby was in danger of also catching on fire.

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"We saved that one," Heller said.

At least 64 firefighters were working for hours to put out the blaze. The farmer's tractor was used to take hay out of the barn. The hay was dumped onto the ground, where firefighters doused it with foam.

Heller said foam is more effective than water.

He said most of the barn had already been destroyed when firefighters arrived. About an hour after it was reported, the only remains were several tall poles, which Heller said would be taken down to make sure all of the fire had been put out.

This was the second barn fire in a week in Washington County. On Tuesday night, a fire destroyed a barn filled with baled hay in Williamsport.

Ernst said barn fires involving hay are common in the spring and fall.

"It's that time of year," he said.

Dry weather also could be to blame for how quickly the fire spread, Heller said.

"It doesn't take much," he said. "It doesn't take long."

Firefighters from Fairplay, Williamsport, Halfway, Funkstown, Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Mount Aetna, Sharpsburg, Potomac Valley and the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association rehab unit responded.

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