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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Westfield Fire Destroys Barn Wednesday Morning

Star Gazette
A fire that may have started when a chicken brooder coop in Westfield caught fire destroyed a 40-by-50-foot barn in northwestern Potter County early this morning.

About 30 firefighters from Westfield, Galeton, Harrison Valley, Chatham township and Clymer township responded to the 3:22 a.m. alarm and found the barn at Hector Corners fully involved in flames, Clymer Fire Chief Richard Patterson said.

“They had just gotten some baby chicks (Tuesday),” Patterson said. “We think the heater in the brooder coop overheated and started the fire. That’s all we can figure right now.”

The barn was owned by Rocky Pesley, Patterson said. Horses that lived on the first floor of the two-story barn were outside when the fire broke out and were not injured, he said. The blaze did kill the chickens in the barn. The barn did not contain any hay or farm
implements, he said.

Firefighters were able to save the farmhouse adjacent to the barn, although the structure did sustain some damage.

“The flames were really rolling that vinyl siding right up the house,” Patterson said. “I would say that about two-thirds of the siding on the house melted from the heat before we could get a lot of water on the house.

“There is very little water supply in that area,” he said. “We had to rely on water we carried on tankers. We even called in extra tankers from other departments. That makes it a real fight.”

But it was a fight that firefighters were not able to win.

“That barn was ablaze when we got there,” he said. “There was nothing to save except the house, and we managed that.”

The barn was an old structure that had recently been “fixed up,” Patterson said. He estimated damage at about $40,000.

“That’s what it would cost to replace a barn that size,” he said.

It took firefighters about two hours to bring the blaze under control, Patterson said. Some remained on the fire scene until 6 a.m.

There were no injuries, he said.

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