September 16, 2014

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Columbia barn fire likely caused by torch

COLUMBIA TWP. — A welding torch likely sparked a barn fire that destroyed all of the machinery stored in the barn, fire officials said.

The fire at the farm, on the 10000 block of West River Road, was not difficult to put out, but still required the aid of four neighboring departments as the volunteer Columbia Township Fire Department is only manned with two people during the day.

As a result, firefighters from Olmsted Falls, Olmsted and North Eaton townships and the city of Strongsville were called out to assist with the blaze. The 9 a.m. fire was under control within an hour.

Crews stayed on for several hours, dousing the barn with water to prevent the fire from re-igniting, Columbia Township fire Chief Ray Anthony said.

The barn was used as a workshop and fire officials said the owner was using a welding torch just prior to the fire.

The torch’s valve popped off and sparked the blaze when it hit material being stored in the barn.

There were no animals in the barn, which was located behind a home. The home was never in any danger, Anthony said.

The barn was heavily damaged, but is still standing. There is no dollar estimate yet on the damage. The fire is still under investigation.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.