Fire destroys barn, kills animals

LITTLE HOCKING – A fire believed to have been caused by heat lamps intended to keep animals warm destroyed a barn Tuesday, killing all 18 goats inside.

The fire on the Gantsville Road property of Little Hocking residents Dan and Terry Mason was reported shortly after 2 p.m., said Little Hocking Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Chevalier.

The cause of the fire is officially undetermined because there wasn’t much left to investigate, Chevalier said. However, he believes the heat lamps were the source. Whether there was a short or a device was knocked over is unknown.

“That was about the only source of heat in the barn, so I’m pretty confident that’s what caused it, but I don’t know what triggered it,” Chevalier said.

The blaze is not considered suspicious.

The value of the barn was estimated at $25,000. In addition to the goats that died, bales of hay, a four-wheeler and a tractor were lost.

Fourteen Little Hocking firefighters responded to the scene and had the fire under control in about 15 minutes, Chevalier said. The Coolville Volunteer Fire Department was contacted for mutual aid, but it was determined the additional manpower wasn’t needed, Assistant Chief Dale Wootton said.

“Smoke was the biggest problem we had,” he said. “Visibility was nothing.”

Thick smoke and steam from the fire blew into the faces of firefighters, forcing them to add length to their hoses and attack it from the west, Wootton said. They were able to keep an attached utility shed largely intact and protected from the flames.

“They did a great job (in) miserable weather,” Dan Mason said.

As he displayed his frozen gloves, Wootton said the frigid conditions gripping the area Tuesday presented additional challenges. Firefighters couldn’t completely shut off the hoses or the lines would have frozen.

It wastes some water, Wootton said, but “if you don’t waste water, you’re not going to be able to fight a fire anyway.”