Dairy’s bank barn, bales up in flames

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SALEM, Ohio – A century-old barn packed full of hay and straw was destroyed by fire early last week.
Fifteen fire departments were summoned to the bank barn on the farm of Joe Weaver, 4515 Lesher Road, Columbiana, just before noon Oct. 4, according to Beaver Township Fire Chief Gary Borman.
An investigation continues, but Borman said investigators are 90 percent sure an electrical problem in the lower part of the barn sparked the blaze.
Away. Joe Weaver was on a family visit in Alberta, Canada, at the time of the fire, according to his son, Shawn, 17.
Weaver said he was working in a field about three miles from the farm when the fire broke out. His cousin, Doug, reported the blaze.
Losses. Shawn Weaver said the barn was built sometime in the 1800s and housed about 10 cows and 30 calves. One calf perished in the blaze.
Also destroyed with the barn were about 60 large round bales, 60 big square bales and 75 big square bales of straw.
The family’s milking herd was safe in a nearby barn, he said.
Firefighters fought to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby freestall barns, the family’s home, parlor, three Harvestores and another storage shed.
Weaver said the newer parlor in an adjacent building wasn’t damaged.
Moving on. Dozens of friends and neighbors gathered at the home to help Weaver with afternoon chores.
Those crews prepared for the afternoon milking while firefighters hosed and scooped smoldering hay into manure spreaders and dragged away charred and crumpled barn siding.
Helpers. The Beaver Township fire squad was on the scene until 7:30 p.m., Borman said.
Departments responding to the fire were from the cities of Salem and Canfield, Beloit, Columbiana, Damascus, East Palestine, Leetonia, New Waterford, Poland and Highlandtown; as well as Beaver, Ellsworth, Green, Perry and Springfield townships.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

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