Fire tears through barn in Franklin Township

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FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, SNYDER COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A central Pennsylvania farmer and his family are dealing with a major loss.

Fire hit a historic barn on their sprawling farm around 2 a.m. Saturday in Snyder County. Pictures of firefighters battling massive flames and smoke show a glimpse of the nightmare Jeremy Reese and his family faced early Saturday morning. Their barn now burned to the ground.

“It’s a deep ache. My son said ‘Dad, the barn’s on fire’ and we ran out the door. And just like that, that emotion in your chest,” Reese said.

The family tried to put out the raging fire but when they realized it was too big, they let the cattle out.

“We didn’t know exactly where they were. Thought we were going to have a rodeo roundup when daylight arrived,” Reese said.

Fortunately, Reese’s neighbor took in the cattle while Reese and firefighters faced the flames. An excavator was sent there in the middle of the night to knock down the barn to gain the upper hand but the hay inside created a major challenge.

“Got the fire under control by tearing apart the hay that continued to ignite,” Reese said.

The Reese family says emergency responders spent about six hours on the scene and even by midday there were still hotspots with smoke. The historic barn is a total loss, but their livestock isn’t. Reese was able to save his nine Jersey heifers and their equipment, but about 20 laying hens were killed in the fire.

“We did what we could but you know when you have that kind of flame, structure proportion, there was, you know, in a tinderbox, in a dry environment. It’s gone,” Reese said.

Reese has another job and considers his livestock a secondary source of income. Although he cannot restore the historic barn, Reese hopes to put another structure in its place and keep what he calls his hobby farm going.

The cause of the fire is still unknown as of Saturday night and a state police fire marshal is investigating.

(Picture courtesy of Tony Bendele )

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