Spontaneous Combustion Suspected In Rutland Barn Blaze
Spontaneous combustion is suspected as the cause of a fire that destroyed a large town of Rutland barn overnight.
The barn, owned by John Garvin, is on the Staplin Road in the town of Rutland.
Fire investigators say they haven't decided anything for sure, but fresh hay was put in the barn on Saturday, making spontaneous combustion a possible cause.
The roof had already collapsed by the time firefighters arrived at around 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Garvin told 7 News he woke up when the fire caused power to his house to go out, causing his battery-operated alarm clock to go off. By that time, the barn was already down, he said.
When he called 911, "I couldn't even get a word out. I just stared at the fire."
Fire officials say the farm's remote location was probably the reason the fire wasn't spotted earlier.
"We don't see a lot of traffic up in here, so circumstances were just against the firemen," Rutland Fire Chief Jerry Kirch said.
"It's hard to put out a barn fire anyway, but this one was just gone when we got the call."
Garvin said there were about 80 heifers in the barn and all of but four were killed. Thirty of the cows were being boarded from five other farms, but all of them were insured.
Garvin specializes in raising young stock, which is why he was raising cattle for other farmers.
The owner also lost a tractor and other equipment. His home and a smaller barn were not damaged.
Garvin said everything was insured and he will likely rebuild.
Thursday, May 23, 2013, Watertown, NY
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