At least eight fire departments responded to 657 E. 300 S., Warsaw, where a barn, estimated to be about 40 feet by 50 feet, caught fire. The fire was reported just after 5 p.m.
Tim Taylor rents the barn from Wade Frauhiger and tells StaceyPageOnline.com that he had a minimum of $30,000 in hay and straw stored in the barn, which had no electricity. Taylor says he noticed a lock on the barn had been cut or pried off on Sunday and suspects kids may be responsible.
“I started noticing some problems about three weeks ago,” says Taylor. At that time, he says he was unloading a wagon of dry, baled hay when he found several bales had been cut and thrown outside of the barn.
Warsaw Fire Chief Mike Brubaker says an investigation will follow, but the main priority was to get the fire under control. Unless the barn is excavated and buried, fire officials say the hay and straw will smolder for weeks.
Taylor cannot estimate the value of the barn, which was built with hand hewn beams, but says a similar one blown down last year in high winds was estimated at $80,000.
Warsaw/Wayne Township, Pierceton, Winona Lake, Silver Lake, Burket, Washington Township, Clay Township and Atwood fire departments are all on scene battling the blaze.
The last of the fire crews cleared the scene shortly before midnight. Squad 70, the county’s fire investigation, were also called to the scene and expect to release more details on the cause of the fire on Tuesday. They say video footage and photos featured here on StaceyPageOnline.com were instrumental in their investigation.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to Jay B. Moore for providing photos.)