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Farm building fire causes $1M in damages

February 10, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A fire Monday night at a Beaver Creek Road farm that the Kendle family has farmed since 1947 caused $1 million in damages to a large shed and the equipment inside, the fire marshal said.

Those driving on Beaver Creek Road on Tuesday could smell the smoldering remains of the fire at 20112 Beaver Creek Road before they could see it.

The fire, which was reported at 9:32 p.m. Monday, destroyed the 40-by-160-foot wood-frame pole barn-type structure valued at $300,000, plus $700,000 worth of contents. The structure housed six farm trailers, two skid steer loaders and miscellaneous farm equipment, the fire marshal's office said.

Lynn Kendle has worked on the farm, owned by his father, Harry Kendle, all his life. He lives in a stone house across Beaver Creek Road and his parents still live on the property, which is off U.S. 40, eight-tenths of a mile down Beaver Creek Road.

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On Monday night, the family heard an explosion at about 9:30 p.m., Kendle said Tuesday afternoon. He heard the explosion from across the street, and neighbors have said they heard it from as far as 2 miles away, Kendle said.

Firefighters were on the property until about 2 a.m., he said.

"The shed was engulfed in flames. There was nothing anyone could do," Kendle said.

Kendle Farms has about 200 beef cattle and 100,000 laying hens. None of the animals were injured in the fire.

On Tuesday afternoon, Lynn Kendle and his son, Benjamin, were behind schedule and working furiously to take care of the cattle. Neighbors loaned them equipment, Lynn Kendle said.

"We lost everything, just about," he said.

Kendle said he still doesn't know what caused the explosion he heard, or the fire.

What was left of the barn is tucked away near the farm's cattle barn, behind Kendle's parents' red brick house. John Deere tractors could be seen, mostly black with soot but their classic green peeking out from under the collapsed roof.

Smoke still smoldered in several spots.

Eighty-five firefighters from Funkstown, Mount Aetna, Boonsboro, Hagerstown, Smithsburg, Fairplay, Halfway, Clear Spring, Longmeadow, Leitersburg, Independent Hose, Marion, Pa., and Greencastle, Pa., responded, the fire marshal said in a news release. It took firefighters about an hour to bring the blaze under control, the release said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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