Fire Marshal Stephen MacIntosh said Tuesday that the investigation into the fire that burned down a barn just 15 feet from a residence on Seven Mile Road is still ongoing, but the expectation is they’ll never know what caused it.
The crews were able to quell the Sunday morning fire and stop it from spreading anywhere else, which was especially key because the barn is just 15 feet behind a home, which wasn’t damaged at all.
The animals inside the barn, however, did not make it out. According to MacIntosh, that included three or four dogs, three horse, three ponies, a family of goats, and a bunch of rabbits, all of which were trapped inside the barn and perished due to the fire.
The department was alerted of the fire around 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning and crews arrived shortly after.
MacIntosh said that there were a few challenges in combating the barn fire, including the fact that it was an older barn.
When fire crews arrived, MacIntosh said, some parts of the barn were not on fire, but while they were on scene getting set up the fire “just took over,” racing through the remaining part of the building and consuming the entire barn.
He said that within 45 minutes to an hour the main body of the barn was down, and crews continued cleaning up and hitting hot spots for hours, when the department, including MacIntosh himself, left the scene around 4:00 p.m.
“Barns are big, drafty, dusty, there’s lots of hay and beddings for the horses,” he said. “They’re usually older structures, all constructed out of wood. When something develops, it just manifests rapidly.”
Also hindering the fire crews was the fact that the closest fire hydrant is a third of a mile away from the home, but they had hose lines established above ground, and he said that in his opinion more water wouldn’t helped much, because “you just can’t put enough water on it” at a certain point.
The extreme cold also played a role, as it does with any fire response, Chief William McKenna said, but the fact that it wasn’t windy helped a lot.
Despite stopping the fire from spreading, firefighters could not prevent the barn from being basically reduced to rubble. He said that now, most of the building is gone besides a couple of walls that are still standing. There’s no framing left and the building collapse right to the floor line, MacIntosh added.
“I can’t recall us having a fire to this magnitude,” he said.
As for the investigation, MacIntosh said that they hope to wrap it up soon, but “even if we have a story, we can’t prove it.”