GNADENHUTTEN — The Warwick Township Volunteer Fire Department’s new $426,000 fire truck was used for the first time early Wednesday as the department battled a hay barn fire on Wolfes Crossing Road SE just outside of Gnadenhutten.
This is the second recent barn fire in Tuscarawas County. A fire destroyed a hay barn in Goshen Township last week.
Warwick Township was dispatched at 1:23 a.m. to fight the fire at a barn owned by David Everett, said Harold Booth, the department’s fire chief. The fire was spotted by a passerby, who stopped and knocked on the door of a nearby house to alert the residents.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, the barn was fully engulfed, he said. "There was fire out of both ends and into the roof already."
The barn housed several hundred square bales of hay, each bale weighing about 800 pounds. A skid loader was also in the building. The barn was a total loss.
Booth estimated that it took about three hours for firefighters to get the blaze under control. No other buildings were threatened.
Warwick Township was assisted by firefighters from Arrowhead Fire District in Gnadenhutten, Delaware Valley Fire District in Port Washington, Newcomerstown, Uhrichsville, New Philadelphia and Rush Township. Smith Ambulance personnel were also on the scene.
No one was injured.
There was no estimate on the amount of damage. Booth noted that the barn housed organic hay, which was used at an organic dairy farm. Organic means that no chemicals were used on the fields.
"It’s more valuable than your ordinary hay," he said.
Because of the hay, the barn will burn for some time. "It will definitely burn for a week or two," Booth said. "We’re just trying to keep it contained."
The department’s new fire truck arrived in time to fight the blaze.
"We got our new truck last night at 5:30 and we actually got to come over and play with it," the chief said. "So that’s its first fire call."
Warwick Township received a $200,000 state grant to pay for the vehicle, along with a $70,000 grant from the Reeves Foundation and $66,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a loan from the USDA.
"It worked out fine," Booth said of the new vehicle.
Jon Baker is a staff writer for The Times-Reporter.