A large fire destroyed one of the barns owned by Evergreen Farms Inc. in Franklin Township Tuesday night.
Warriors Mark-Franklin fire chief Gerald Seeger told The Daily News the call at 333 Marengo Road, close to the Centre County line, was dispatched just before 8 p.m. and by the time crews arrived on scene a few minutes later, the fire was fully involved and the barn engulfed in flames.
“The fire was fully involved early on, there was a lot of dry straw in the barn,” Seeger said. “The barn doors were also open with the wind blowing into the barn, which fed the fire.”
Volunteers from four counties fought the blaze throughout the night before finally getting it under control around 2 a.m.
The barn is total loss and Seeger said the cause has yet to be determined. A state police fire marshal is currently investigating the incident.
The cold weather Tuesday night did not affect fire personnel immediately, but hours into fighting the blaze Seeger said some of the aerial equipment began to freeze.
Crews did run into problems after the barn collapsed.
“After the barn collapsed, we needed to wait until an excavator lifted the tin roof up to make sure that we put out all of the straw that was on fire,” Seeger said. “Thankfully, before this happened the owner and neighbors were able to get all 78 animals out of the barn and none were harmed."
It was previously reported the barn was used to house heifers.
Fire companies from Huntingdon, Blair, Centre, and Clearfield counties were dispatched to the fire. Crews from Huntingdon County included Warriors Mark-Franklin, Alexandria and Petersburg volunteer fire companies.
Seeger extended his thanks to everyone who responded to the scene.
While representatives from Evergreen Farms Inc. did not return calls made by The Daily News as of press time, according to the farm's website, the business was founded by Wayne Harpster in 1965. Today, Harpster's three sons, Abraham, Aaron and Andrew are equal partners in the farming operation, managing a vast and diverse agriculture business.
The farm, known as the Manor Farm, was once part of the property where Wayne Harpster's parents, Robert and Juliet Harpster, who owned the former Harpster Chevrolet of Warriors Mark, resided.
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