Barn on fire on U.S. 35

A late-morning fire destroyed a family's barn just south of Logansport on Tuesday.

Firefighters were dispatched to a property in the 3400 block of South U.S. 35 at about 11 a.m. Cass County Fire District Chief Pat Bell said a barn on the property was fully involved when personnel arrived.

Plumes of black smoke billowed out from the inside of the barn for roughly 90 minutes before firefighters were finally able to extinguish the flames. No firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze, Bell said. He said officials spent the rest of the afternoon monitoring "hot spots" to make sure the fire didn't reignite.

The barn's owners, Leo and Luci Spitznogle, were both home at the time the fire began. Leo said a neighbor noticed white smoke coming from the Spiznogles' barn, and he called to ask if everything was all right.

"We were sitting in the house, and Mark [neighbor] called and said the barn was on fire," Leo said.

The couple then went outside and saw the barn fully engulfed. No one was inside at the time, Leo said.

The barn was built in 2011, and Leo said he used the property as his workshop and tool shed. Several pieces of farm machinery and other vehicles, as well as giant piles of firewood, were located inside the barn. Bell said those contents hindered the effort of firefighters to initially gain control of the flames.

Another issue was the wind, Bell said, which was blowing steadily on the barn from the southwest.

"You have to work with Mother Nature," Bell said, "and this is what she dealt us today. It was hard to get a knock on it."

But while getting a handle on the fire was a challenge, Bell said he was proud of how all the departments came together to help each other fight the flames. Six different departments had personnel at the scene, including firefighters from the Cass County Fire District and the fire departments of Logansport, New Waverly, Galveston, Walton and Clinton Township.

"We divided up in terms of command and worked the fire together," Bell said, referring to the dozens of firefighters on scene. "I took one side, and he [LFD Chief Bernie Mittica] took the other."

Bell said it's too early to tell how and where the fire started, and it remains under investigation as of Tuesday afternoon. He also said he couldn't estimate the value of what was damaged, but he said the barn is likely a total loss.

Personnel from Cass County EMS, Prompt Ambulance Services, the Cass County Sheriff's Department and Logansport Municipal Utilities also assisted the firefighters at the scene.

Reach Kim Dunlap at kim.dunlap@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150.

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