A wood burning stove was the cause of a fire that destroyed a barn in Shelby County Sunday. The Harlan Fire Department was called to the fire around 9:10am Sunday morning to the Finken Tree Farm at 1440 Highway 44. Harlan Fire Chief Roger Bissen says smoke was coming from all directions when they arrived on scene.
“The entire inside of the barn was engulfed in flames with smoke coming out the doors and windows. We went into defense attack mode and put three attack lines on the outside, set up a tanker shuttle, called in Kirkman and Kimballton and extinguished it from the outside. After we got it mostly extinguished we had to get an excavator to bring the remainder of the building down.”
The chief says there were also problems with the excavator. “The trouble we had with getting extinguished was the inside was full of sawed lumber and firewood. Then the whole barn was wrapped in tin so we had all that burning underneath the tin as the building was coming down. We had to get the excavator to tear things apart and continue to extinguish as he was tearing it apart.”
Bissen says Steve Finken, the land owner, lit the wood burning stove early in the morning but then left for church before being called to the home for the fire. Along with Kirkman and Kimballton, Defiance was called to the scene for their rehab trailer. The departments were on scene for over three hours working on the barn fire. However, the fire rekindled later in the evening.
“We got called out about 7 o’clock. Steve had called me at home and said the area of the barn that had the firewood was burning pretty good again. He was afraid to go to bed and leave it so we went out and extinguished that and put some foam on it.”
The Harlan Fire Department was out on the scene in the evening for an additional hour. Bissen says the barn and the contents were a total loss. “He had a lot of wood working equipment, saws and planers and everything. He would take rough cut wood and planning it down and selling it. So he had all the equipment to do that. Steve said he had over $20,000 of equipment in there so we are probably looking at a $25,000 loss.”
No injuries were reported.