Harshman barn destroyed by fire

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Firefighters tackled a fire that started in a barn packed with bales of hay on July 30. Maryland fire departments hauled water to the Clay Hill Road site, and the hose was run up the long driveway of Larry and Jean Harshman. Antrim Township arrived with a loader to spread the bales out after the bank barn and its contents were declared a loss. Spectators observed runoff water make its way off the farm.

A barn, with a milking parlor underneath, was ruled a total loss in a 1 p.m. fire Tuesday afternoon. The fire occurred on the Larry and Jean Harshman farm at 12027 Clay Hill Road.

Tyler Myers, 1st Lt. with Greencastle Rescue Hose Company No. 1, first due responder, said the Pennsylvania State Police fire marshall had called the fire accidental and electrical in nature, based on statements from the Harshmans. They said an electrical company had been working in the barn earlier in the day, and Larry Harshman had seen sparks.

The bank barn had been full of hay bales. No animals were injured. Bystanders said the family was transporting the cows to another farm as fire crews battled the flames.

Myers said one outbuilding was compromised, and a tractor and loader were also damaged. Antrim Township brought out an end loader to separate the charred bales, and fire crews sprayed them with foam to avert later combustion. Fire personnel spent most of the afternoon dousing the burned materials and cooling two nearby silos to prevent them from exploding.

Backup equipment and fire police came from St. Thomas, M.M.P.W., Chambersburg, Marion, Franklin, Waynesboro, Franklin County Emergency Air Unit, Mont Alto and Leitersburg and Maugansville, Md.

"We didn't have a good water supply so we called in tankers from Washington County," said Myers.