Barn destroyed in afternoon blaze

By on October 29, 2010

Firefighters stop flames from spreading
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—A barn burned to the ground at 42W733 Route 38 late Tuesday afternoon after a sparking electrical line caused a fire in the building. But firefighters managed to save a large shed on the property whose roof caught fire when strong winds spread the flames.

“We were able to contain that one,” Elburn and Countryside Fire Department Chief Kelly Callaghan said.

The 120-year-old wood barn had been vacant for 15 years, said Bud Motz, whose family owns the property. But the shed housed a boat and a truck, which were not damaged, Motz said.

“I don’t know how they did it, but they saved it (the shed),” Motz said.

Motz said the wind was blowing eastward. A harvested field east of the barn also caught fire, but firefighters doused it soon after arriving at the scene.

“They managed to keep it from spreading too far into the cornfield,” Motz said.

Motz arrived on the scene at 5:10 p.m. and stayed until about 8 p.m., when firefighters were finished. He said he and his family are grateful for their efforts.

“The Fire Department did a miraculous job,” Motz said.

A vacant farmhouse on the property and a neighboring house owned by the Forth family were not affected by the fire. Another large shed also was untouched.

No one was on the property when the fire started, Callaghan said.

Firefighters arrived on the scene after receiving a TriCom dispatch at 4:42 p.m. Callaghan and Motz said they do not know who made the 911 call about the fire, but Motz speculated that it was someone driving by on Route 38.

Callaghan said no fire hydrants are located near the site, so firefighters had to rely on water from fire tankers from the various departments to douse the blaze.

Nine other area fire departments assisted the Elburn department in fighting the fire, including Maple Park, Sugar Grove and Kaneville. Geneva and South Elgin fire departments staffed the Elburn fire stations during the event.

PHOTO: Firefighters battle high winds and a blaze that destroyed a barn late Tuesday afternoon on Route 38 near Anderson Road in Elburn. Firefighters from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, as well as from nine other departments, responded to the call. Photo by Ryan Wells