The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

June 3, 2013

Horse perishes in barn fire

— EXCHANGE — The family horse perished in a fire that leveled a barn containing hay bales Monday evening in Anthony Township, Montour County.

Owner Ananias Hershberger tried to rescue Sparky, their horse, but couldn’t because of the intense flames that quickly destroyed the pole-type barn.

Hershberger was in a green calf barn nearby when a man and his wife pulled in their driveway at 310 PPL Road. “He came up to the porch and hollered the pole shed was on fire,” Hershberger’s wife, Barbara, said. She and their sons, Ananias Jr., 6; Eli, 5; Michael, 3; and Jacob, 23 months, were inside the house, which is near the destroyed barn. Barbara was cooking at the time.

She ran to the calf barn to get her husband, who was power washing stalls in the barn housing 200 calves. “I turned off the power washer to get his attention,” she said. She didn’t recognize the man who stopped and dialed 911 at 6:23 p.m.

Fire officials hadn’t estimated the damage Monday night, and the cause remained under investigation.

Hershberger, 30, said the man who spotted the fire has property in the area of the greenhouses nearby and was headed there. “It wasn’t more than 1 1/2 minutes that my wife saw him fly into our driveway,” he said.

“It was pretty well impossible to do anything. We watched until the fire trucks came,” Barbara said of the wooden building with a metal roof that was engulfed by flames. Also lost in the building was a lawnmower. Hershberger was able to drive away a tractor parked near the barn.

Hershberger said Sparky, about 10 or 11, was used to pull their buggy.

He and his wife believe the brown smoky blaze started in a mulch pile behind the barn. “That’s the only thing I can think of,” he said. He used mulch last week while seeding grass. He said the hay in the building had been there for some time.

The building was 40-foot by 96-foot with what he termed a 20-foot by 96-foot lean-to.

He has some insurance on the building and will rebuild but probably not as large a building, he said.

The family also has 20 acres planted in hay. They have lived in Anthony Township for 8 1/2 years, having moved from western Pennsylvania. Hershberger said the barn was 16 or 17 years old.


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