A three-alarm call of a structure fire went out at about 1 p.m. Friday and tankers from three area fire departments responded to a corn crib fully engulfed in flames on the property of David Wolfenbarger at 9755 S. Careytown Rd., north of Hillsboro.
Wolfenbarger told The Times-Gazette he had returned home for lunch, heard his dogs barking, and upon looking out the window noticed smoke rolling out from underneath the corn crib.
He said his first thought was the smoke was drifting over from a neighbor’s property, then he realized it was coming from the corn crib.
“I went out and grabbed a garden hose and opened up the corn crib door,” he said. “I could see the fire was starting to come up the inside wall and also the outside, and I watered it down as long as I could, but it just kept gaining on me.”
At that point he dialed 9-1-1, and tankers from the Clinton-Highland Joint Fire District and Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District were on the scene within minutes. But by then, he said, the structure was a total loss.
A third tanker from the Highland County North Joint Fire and Ambulance District was also on the scene, but wasn’t utilized in fighting the fire.
Highland County EMA Director David Bushelman was also dispatched to the farm in the event that any hazardous chemicals or fuel may have been involved in the incident, but they were not.
Wolfenbarger said he appreciated the firefighters’ fast response and quick thinking that protected a nearby barn and large tree from being destroyed in the blaze.
Wolfenbarger said only manure and some straw had been stored in the structure, but nothing combustible was inside and the electricity had been disconnected. But he did offer one explanation.
“The only thing that was in there was a groundhog,” he said. “And I don’t think he was smoking.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.