Fire destroys Tuscarawas County hay barn; no injuries to livestock, people reported

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Ragersville dairy fire
A fire destroyed a hay barn at the Swihart Dairy Farm in Tuscarawas County early Sept. 30. Wet hay is suspected to be the reason.

RAGERSVILLE, Ohio —  Firefighters from nine departments, including the Sugarcreek Fire Department, responded to a barn fire that destroyed a hay barn at the Swihart Dairy Farm near Ragersville, Ohio, just south of Sugarcreek (Tuscarawas County).

The hay barn was attached to the dairy barn and milking parlor, but family and fire crew members were able to save the two dairy buildings and around 700 head of cattle that were inside. No injuries to people or livestock were reported.

The fire

Firefighters responded to the call around 7 p.m. Sept. 29 and continued to battle the flames until around 5 a.m., Sept. 30. Sugarcreek Fire Chief Kevin Miller said wet hay that had been stacked in the barn for a month was the cause of the fire.

The Times-Reporter reported that “Crews were hampered by the large volume of fire, as well as intermittent rain, which made the area muddy. About 300 square hay bales, which were on fire, had to be removed from the barn. Sawdust also created problems.”

Damage was estimated at $150,000 to the barn and some contents. Chief Miller said the family was able to pull a combine, gravity wagons and few other pieces of equipment out of the building before fire crews arrived.

The Sugarcreek Fire Department was assisted at the scene by departments from Baltic, Dover, Wayne Township, York Township, Stone Creek, New Philadelphia, the East Holmes Fire District and Bakersville.

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Catie Noyes lives in Ashland County and earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture communications from The Ohio State University. She enjoys photography, softball and sharing stories about agriculture. Formerly a reporter for the Farm and Dairy, Catie is now pursuing her master's degree in education.

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