The owner of the barn that suffered severe structural damage in a Thursday morning fire told The Times-Gazette “it’s like deja vu” since just two years ago the couple experienced another fire in a nearby barn.
“Two years ago we lost that block barn over there. That’s why we have this barn,” Toni May said, pointing to a nearby arrangement of concrete blocks where a barn once stood. “I was at Walmart getting my oil changed this morning and my husband called and said there was smoke coming out of the barn.”
Emergency crews from the Highland County North Joint Fire and Ambulance District responded to the call of a barn fire at 9145 SR 138 in the Leesburg area shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday.
“This is Leesburg’s fire and they’ve done a heck of a job,” Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Chief Dave Manning said. “We’re here to render mutual aid and help anyway we can.”
Firefighters from both departments arrived on the scene at about 9:15 a.m. and were confronted with smoke and fire billowing from under the roof of the barn, with flames licking back in the direction of the barn door.
Traffic was maintained in both directions of SR 138 while firemen battled the blaze, which they had under control within minutes.
May said that she and her husband, Anthony Hampton, were in the process of getting the family camper ready for camping season, and suspected the fire began with a battery charger.
“We were charging the batteries to pull it out,” she said. “It has the hydraulic leveling and you have to charge the batteries to lift it up so you can pull it out, and the fire we had two years ago was caused by something similar.”
No official cause of the blaze was determined nor an estimate of damage. Emergency personnel remained on the scene for a few hours to ensure the fire didn’t flare back up.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.