The barn was occupied by two horses. One horse was rescued by a firefighter, who was injured in the rescue effort. The firefighter was treated and released. The second horse perished in the fire. There were no other injuries to bystanders or responders.
The first call for fire departments was issued by Adams County dispatch at 5:06 a.m. and the first units were on the scene at 5:11 a.m. The fire was under control within approximately one hour. Initial estimates show the building to be a total loss. This area of Adams County is not fed by fire hydrants. Thanks to the efforts of firefighters and a well-executed convoy of tankers, those battling the blaze were never without water.
Gettysburg Fire Department Lieutenant Ed Mizenko was the incident commander. According to Mizenko, the cause of the fire is still undetermined but appears to be accidental. The Pennsylvania State Police State Fire Marshal has assumed control of the investigation.
This has been a busy few days for firefighters in Adams County and Gettysburg, with a major training exercise and two serious structure fires in a three-day period. Gettysburg Fire Department is proud to serve our community, and we encourage everyone to do their part. According to the Humane Society of the United States:
Barn fires are one of any horse owner’s biggest nightmares. Most barn fires are preventable, and too often they result from negligence or apathy toward fire prevention. To prevent barn fires:
- > Prohibit smoking in or around the barn. A discarded cigarette can ignite dry bedding or hay in seconds.
- > Avoid parking tractors and vehicles in or near the barn. Engine heat and backfires can spark a flame.
- > Store other machinery and flammable materials outside the barn.
- > Inspect electrical systems regularly and immediately correct any problems. Rodents can chew on electrical wiring and cause damage that quickly becomes a fire hazard.
- > Keep appliances to a minimum in the barn. Use stall fans, space heaters, and radios only when someone is in the barn.
- > Be sure hay is dry before storing it. Hay that is too moist may spontaneously combust. Store hay outside the barn in a dry, covered area when possible.