An equipment storage barn appeared totally lost after a structure fire on a Frederick County farm Wednesday afternoon.
The fire at Waverly Farms near Adamstown caused no injuries but did significant property damage. The fire, which broke out just before noon, claimed a 175-by-75-foot metal barn used to store farm equipment.
“It’s unbelievable,” Waverly Farms owner and grower Jerry Faulring said. “I’ll have a hell of a time replacing all the equipment.”
The barn “was fully engaged 10 minutes after we noticed the fire,” Faulring said. “There was so much smoke I couldn’t see inside, and a lot of explosions.”
The fire appeared to have started in the engine of a wheel loader and quickly spread to the rest of the barn, Faulring said.
Eusebio Carmona, a Waverly Farm employee, was the first person to notice the fire. Carmona was outside the metal barn with other employees, he said, and called Faulring when he saw the flames.
“It’s usually dark when you look inside the barn, but I saw something glowing that looked like fire,” Carmona said. “I tried putting it out with water, but it didn’t work.”
The heat caused the air in the tires on the equipment to expand and pop, Carmona said. “It sounded like gunshots.”
Faulring tried to find a fire extinguisher, but the smoke was too thick, he said. He told everyone to leave the barn and called the fire department.
Waverly Farms raises ornamental trees and shrubs for wholesale. The farm requires expensive, specialized machines for planting and harvesting, Faulring said. Much of the equipment in the burned barn was imported from Europe.
The barn and equipment lost to the fire cost an estimated $1.5 million, Faulring said.
“Everything was almost new. I replaced it all in the last five years.” he said. “Just to import it again will take a year.”
Carroll Manor Fire Company, which is less than 2 miles from Waverly Farm, responded to the blaze. The fire company was assisted by tankers, fire engines and ladder trucks from elsewhere in Frederick County as well as nearby Montgomery County.
The fire was contained by 1:15 p.m., according to Battalion Chief John Hahn of the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services. Within an hour and a half of receiving the call, firefighters were engaging in a defensive “surround and drown” maneuver to finish off the remaining hot spots, Hahn said.
It was a good response time, Carroll Manor Fire Chief Mike Smallwood said.
Firefighters used tanker trucks to shuttle water from a hydrant near Adamstown, Smallwood said. They also connected to a hydrant on Buckeystown Pike with 2,500 feet of hose.
No injuries were reported, Smallwood said. A fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze.