Cause of fire not known at this point

The cause of a Wednesday fire that destroyed a barn and damaged other buildings at a home on Ohio 26 is being ruled undetermined.

It was initially thought a tractor battery might be to blame for a fire that engulfed the barn, blistered the siding on the house and nearby trailer, and ate through a storage building, all owned by Larry Sloter at 4475 State Route 26.

However, it was later determined that the tractor was not close enough to the suspected origin of the blaze, said Reno Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dan Ritchey.

“It started at the middle of the barn, but everything is so burnt up that the cause is really going to be hard to tell without guessing,” he said.

In addition to hundreds of bales of hay, the barn contained three or four farm tractors, a car, four ATVs, drums of oil, tires, pressure washers and other farm equipment, said Ritchey.

Sloter does have insurance on the property, but not likely enough to cover the more than $200,000 worth of damage Ritchey estimated was caused by the fire.

In addition to the loss of the barn and its contents, the fire ruined a car parked near the barn, burned a hole through the wall of a nearby storage building, and damaged the siding on the Sloters’ home and nearby trailer.

Units from Williamstown and Fearing volunteer fire departments and the Marietta Fire Department assisted Reno with the fire, which started sometime around 3:30 p.m.

No foul play is suspected in the blaze and the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office will not be called to investigate, said Ritchey.