The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 25, 2013

Fire seen for miles, destroys Harpersfield barn

Star Beacon

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Firefighters from three communities were needed to extinguish a barn fire that could be seen for more than eight miles early Saturday afternoon.

“I was out in the backyard. We just heard a little popping and snapping,” said property owner Paul Kowicki, who lives next door. He said he came around some trees and saw the southern portion of the barn on fire at 929 State Road.

The fire was called into dispatch at 12:20, said Harpersfield Fire Chief Everett Henry. He said firefighters from Harpersfield Township, Austinburg Township and Geneva fought the blaze.

Firefighters quickly set up a connection to a water truck and put up a portable tank in case it was needed. A fire hydrant, about a quarter mile from the fire, was also used to help extinguish the fire.

When firefighters arrived on scene the massive barn was completely involved with flames and the fire was threatening to spread to adjacent structures.

“That was our main concern; to keep the heat away from the house,” Henry said. Firefighters were able to get fire hoses on several sides of the house and were able to knock down the flames in about a half hour.

Henry said the fire stated in the southern portion of the barn where electrical lines connected to the structure. “It appears it (the cause) was electrical in nature but it is still under investigation,”he said.

Several people came to watch the fire after seeing the smoke in downtown Geneva. Neighbors also gathered on surrounding properties as the wall of flames lit up the sky and send huge clouds of smoke into the atmosphere.

Kowicki said he used the building for storage and there weren’t any animals in the structure.

Henry said Kowicki was able to get a four wheeler out of the building. He said there were miscellaneous items destroyed in the fire but the items weren’t of major monetary value.

Firefighters remained on the scene late into the afternoon to douse hot spots, Henry said.