Crawford County Fire Destroys Large Machinery Shed

080614-linesville-barn-fireBy Deedee Sun –

A massive fire at a farm in Crawford County destroys a machinery shed, along with the equipment used to manage 1200 acres of farmland in Linesville. 

The fire started just after 7:30pm on Tuesday, at 4209 Wheeler Road.

As soon as Julie Wheeler saw the fire, she knew it was bad.

“It was to the point where I knew there wasn’t any saving it,” she said. She owns the property with her husband. 

Now the Wheeler family doesn’t know how they’ll manage the fall harvest. 

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“Everything we own right now, chopper, combine, drills, cedar, hay. Everything we’re going to need for the fall,” Wheeler said.

The big columns of smoke spiraling into the sky from the farm could be seen from miles away. It’s what first gave the Linesville fire department a heads up to the problem. The fire crews were dispatched immediately after they saw the smoke, but as soon as they arrived, the crews knew it was going to be a total loss.  

“My assistant chief looked out the window, and he said ‘look at this column of smoke,” and you could see the pillars. About a minute later, we were dispatched,” said Bill Mickle, fire chief of the Linesville volunteer fire department.

“We were on scene in three to four minutes, the barn was fully involved,” Mickle said. 

Finding a reliable water supply presented a challenge to the crews, with the closest hydrants about 3.5 miles away. 

“We’re having issues right now getting water supplies established and trying to keep up with the manpower for how hard they’re working. Trying to get through all that sheet metal,” Mickle said. 

“Another one of our big problems, getting through all the hay. We need to get all the tin and sheet metal out of the way so we can reach the fire inside,” he said. 

So far, there’s no word on the cause of the fire, but owners of the property say there were lightening strikes in the area earlier on Tuesday, leaving blackened spots nearby. 

“At this point right now with the storm that went though, it’s a good assessment that its lightening,” Wheeler said. 

Though the loss is huge, the Wheeler family has been farming for seven generations, and they say they will farm on. |
“Carrying on the tradition, if it’s not the economy its been the weather. Mother nature got us one more time,” she said. “But we’re farmers and we’ll figure it out.”

No one was injured in the incident. 

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