Fire levels barn

A barn full of hay and farm equipment on the corner of Ohio 26 and Pleasant Ridge Road in Marietta Township was destroyed by fire Wednesday afternoon.

The approximately 4,800-square-foot barn, owned by Larry Sloter of 4475 State Route 26, was fully engulfed in flame when the first firefighters arrived, according to Chief Dan Ritchey with the Reno Volunteer Fire Department.

Heat from the fire blistered siding on the Sloters’ farmhouse that stood within yards of the burning barn.

“The wind was blowing and I was afraid we were going to lose the house, too,” Ritchey said. “So that was the first structure we hit when we arrived at the scene.”

There were no serious injuries from the 3:30 p.m. blaze, although one Reno firefighter did suffer a minor burn, Ritchey said.

Sloter told firefighters that hundreds of bales of hay were stored inside the barn, as well as tractors and other farm equipment.

“We actually had two structures on fire when we first arrived,” Ritchey said. “A smaller building not far from the barn had caught fire and it had burned through a wall, but we were able to put it out.”

A small mobile home at the northeast side of the property also suffered some slight siding damage due to the fire.

Tanker and pumper trucks from Reno, Fearing, and Williamstown volunteer fire departments, as well as units from the Marietta Fire Department, responded to the scene. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol assisted with traffic control.

“Having enough water is always a concern when there’s a fire this far out in the country,” Ritchey said.

Several pumpers were linked in order to keep the water pressure flowing onto the blaze, and tanker trucks made continuous runs to refill from a hydrant at the Ohio Department of Transportation garage on Ohio 26 throughout the evening.

The specific cause of the fire had not been fully determined Wednesday night, but Ritchey said it appeared a tractor battery may have sparked the blaze.

He said the fire did not appear suspicious and the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office would not be called to investigate.

Ritchey said the barn was not insured.