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Two horses die in fire, barn destroyed

November 21, 2011

Firefighters knock down a blaze that originated in a barn outside of Big Run Saturday. The cause of the fire was deemed accidental. (Photo by Zak Lantz/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

REYNOLDSVILLE — A Saturday afternoon blaze burned a barn to the ground, damaged an accompanying silo and killed two horses.

Area firefighters from eight different stations battled the fire that broke out around 2:40 p.m. Saturday, just outside of Big Run.

Estimated damages to the barn — owned by Melvin Troyer — and contents were approximately $200,000 and exterior damage to the house was figured at roughly $20,000, according to Big Run Fire Chief Todd Peace.

The dry wood of the barn walls, the hay inside and windy conditions increased the intensity of the fire and made containing the flames and keeping them away from the surrounding houses and brush a difficult task.
"I drove from Big Run to here, that's three miles, and there was fire blowing out of every crack in the barn," Peace said Saturday. "On top of that, the wind up here is blowing about 15 miles per hour ... That was a stubborn thing here, too, as we had several brush fires break out."

The intense heat of the fire and the strong winds caused siding and shingle damage to two houses on the property, but no interior damage was detected in either house.

"We got our first truck here and blanketed (the houses) with water, and our foam truck came right behind it and blanketed it with foam," Peace said.

Tankers from a variety of companies provided water as the flames were doused from multiple angles, but even after the flames were contained, the teams had their hands full spreading the hay to avoid any flare ups.
Nobody was in the barn when the fire started, and the cause was accidental, Peace said, adding that children had been playing in the structure earlier.

The owners were preparing to milk their cows when they noticed the fire, Peace said.

Aside from the horses perishing, there were no injuries, he said.
During the same time, Peace said, there was also a brush fire in Stump Creek, which Brady Township handled.

Big Run firefighters were assisted by Sykesville, McCalmont Township, Central, Elk Run, Lindsey, Reynoldsville, West Sandy and Rossiter crews and Sykesville Ambulance.

West Sandy, Rossiter, Mahaffey, and Big Run ambulances were also on standby.

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