Fire destroys barn in Marietta Township

MARIETTA TOWNSHIP – A barn filled with hay and farm equipment in Marietta Township was destroyed by fire Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

The roughly 4,800-square-foot barn owned by Larry Sloter of 4475 State Route 26 at Ohio 26 and Pleasant Ridge Road was fully engulfed 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 stands 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.”

No serious injuries resulted from the 3:30 p.m. blaze, although a Reno firefighter sustained a minor burn, Ritchey said.

Sloter told firefighters hundreds of bales of hay, tractors and other farm equipment were stored in the barn.

“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.”

The siding was slightly damaged on A small mobile home at the northeast side of the property.

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 would not be called to investigate. Ritchey said the barn was not insured.

Tankers and pumper trucks from Reno, Fearing and Williamstown volunteer fire departments and the Marietta Fire Department responded. 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 to keep the water pressure flowing to fight the blaze, he said. Tanker trucks continuously made refilling runs from a hydrant at the Ohio Department of Transportation garage on Ohio 26 throughout the evening.