September 16, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
63°F

Barn burns to ground in Wadsworth Township

WADSWORTH TWP. — A barn used mainly to store heavy equipment at Ramsier’s Willow Spring Farm burned to the ground early Friday.

The 80-by-80-foot wood, metal and steel structure caught fire shortly before 4 a.m. Friday, and more than 30 firefighters from multiple agencies were called to help extinguish the blaze, according to Assistant Fire Chief Ron Likley of the Wadsworth Fire Department.

A backhoe operator clears debris from a barn fire Friday afternoon at Ramsier's Willow Spring Farm in Wadsworth Township. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY STEVE GRAZIER)

A backhoe operator clears debris from a barn fire Friday afternoon at Ramsier's Willow Spring Farm in Wadsworth Township. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY STEVE GRAZIER)

“It was through the roof when we got here,” said Likley, who, along with other Wadsworth firefighters, did not leave the scene until after noon Friday.

Likley estimated the fire resulted in losses of approximately $2.5 million. The barn contained heavy farm equipment, including tractors, Bobcats or skidders and trailers. Some hay and straw also burned, but no livestock losses were reported.

“There might be a couple kittens missing,” the assistant chief said.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, Likley said, but noted the blaze could have been caused by spontaneous combustion of hay.

“We’ll probably leave it (listed) as undetermined,” Likley said. “(The barn) is too far gone to really tell.”

Marvin Ramsier, a lifelong resident and owner of the farm, said a neighbor called him shortly after 4 a.m. to report smoke and flames coming from the property.

“I’ve been here all my life,” Ramsier said. “In 65 years of living, we’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Ramsier, a dairy and grain farmer, said a family friend told him later Friday he could see the glow of the fire seven miles away in Sterling.

About 100 cows were trucked from the property to nearby farms by friends to be milked so the Ramsier family could tend to the fire, Ramsier said.

The barn was built in the 1830s, which is about the same time as the family home, Ramsier said.

Ramsier’s Willow Spring Farm is at 2477 Eastern Road near Rittman.

Firefighters from Medina, Sharon Township, Sterling, Rittman, Chippewa Township and Norton assisted Wadsworth firefighters in battling the barn fire, Likley said.

Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.