2017-03-15 / Front Page

Wood-Burning Furnace May Have Started Barn Fire


A fire at 23649 Co. Rd. F destroyed a barn and its contents, Monday, March 13. The property is owned by Christopher and Jennifer King. Damage was estimated at $125,000.– photo by Mary Huber A fire at 23649 Co. Rd. F destroyed a barn and its contents, Monday, March 13. The property is owned by Christopher and Jennifer King. Damage was estimated at $125,000.– photo by Mary Huber An official cause has not been determined, but a wood-burning furnace is suspected of starting a fire that destroyed a barn north of Archbold, Monday evening, March 13.

Dave Davis, Archbold fire chief, said the barn was owned by Christopher and Jennifer King, 23649 Co. Rd. F.

The Kings and their children live in a home at that address.

Davis said a passerby saw the fire and called in the alarm.

AFD got the call at 5:50 pm. Davis said when firefighters arrived, they found “a fully involved barn. It was rolling pretty good when I got there.”

Davis said firefighters didn’t try to enter the barn.

“By the time we got there, sections of the roof had collapsed. It was defensive from the beginning, trying to protect the exposures. There was no way we were going to save anything in the barn,” he said.

Weather

Firefighters found themselves battling the blaze in high winds, cold temperatures, and driving snow that turned out to be a curse and a blessing.

“The wind was coming from the opposite direction it normally does. It was out of the northeast. It blew the heat away from the house, but it intensified in the barn, making it burn faster,” he said.

“The cold didn’t seem to affect anything. We never ran out of water, and we didn’t freeze any lines. Wind was the big thing that made it harder fighting the fire.”

During the fire, several small explosions were heard from the burning building.

Davis said those explosions were likely coming from the tires on vehicles parked in the barn. Also, there was a small propane tank in the building that might have exploded, he said.

Davis called for help in the form of a full response from Wauseon and Fayette fire departments.

He said he also “had Stryker coming with tankers, because I knew we would need a lot of water.”

When the building collapsed, metal siding trapped heat in the debris underneath.

Firefighters called in two hydraulic excavators to uncover and spread the burning debris, so firefighters could douse the flames.

Cause, Damage

Davis said the cause of the fire has not been 100% determined.

There was a wood-burning furnace at the back of the barn the Kings used to help heat their home.

“Everything points to the wood burner as the cause of the fire,” he said.

Everything inside the structure was a total loss, including a pickup truck and camper.

Davis estimates the damage to the building and its contents at $125,000.

Other Events

Davis said he didn’t find out until later that while AFD was fighting the barn fire, Ridgeville Corners firefighters stood by at their station to cover for Archbold.

Later, Ridgeville responded to a call of a smoke investigation on Monterey Court.

Davis said he dispatched Russ Wyse, assistant fire chief, from the barn fire to the smoke investigation.

Firefighters left the scene about 9:40 pm, Davis said.

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