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Barn burns to ground after lightning strike

May 4, 2012

COLUMBIANA A wooden barn on Lower Elkton Road was struck by lightning early Thursday, burst into flames and burned down.

The 20- by 40-foot barn owned by Scott Brubaker had just been moved to a new concrete foundation on his property at 2711 Lower Elkton Road, Fire Chief Rick Garrity said.

The barn was in the Brubaker family for years and was moved to preserve it, he added.

No animals were inside the barn at the time and no injuries were reported.

Garrity said the volunteer fire department was alerted of the barn fire by an anonymous caller who reported seeing a "glow in the sky" in the general area.

Firefighters searched for the "glow" and found it to be the barn, which was fully involved on their arrival.

"It was just basically the frame and roof still on there. There wasn't anything (left) to save, unfortunately," he said.

The report came in around 2:30 a.m. and due to the lightning storm interfering with the department's communications system dispatch couldn't get the word out to everyone.

Garrity immediately notified members of the department's calling committee, who spread the word by phone to other firefighters within seconds.

Firefighters also heard of the fire over radios and band scanners, he said.

"We had 17 guys out there so it must work," he said of the backup plan.

Dispatch was back on the air within the hour and he didn't believe any communications equipment was damaged in the interference.

"We've lost equipment before due to lightning strikes but this time it just knocked them off the air It didn't delay us any, maybe a minute or so. We got right in and got the trucks and away we went. Everything went pretty smooth considering the elements of the evening," he said.

The barn was located in an area away from other buildings and because of the

onslaught of rain there was little chance of the fire spreading to other areas, he added.

He also said the Brubakers were sleeping at the time and not aware of the fire until awakened by firefighters.

The department was also assisted by the Leetonia Volunteer Fire Department, who showed up with nine men, a tanker and a pumper truck.

The crews spent just over two hours putting out the blaze and city firefighters were back at the station around 5 a.m., Garrity said.



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