Hog barns lost in blaze 2013.05.15

Written by David Green.

A fire Thursday night ripped through two hog barns and another single-story barn at the Nick VanStaveren farm on Elliott Highway.

Morenci firefighters were called at 10:30 p.m. Thursday and remained at the scene until 3 a.m. 

The fire department’s priority was to limit exposure to other buildings, said officer Brad Lonis, because the barns were beyond saving when trucks arrived.

VanStaveren told Lonis that he and his wife smelled smoke and as it continued to grow stronger, he looked outside and discovered the barns in flames.

Wind was blowing ash and coals toward the house, Lonis said, and fire-fighters were able to prevent damage to the residence. They were also successful in saving an outbuilding.

“The guys on the initial crew took a lot of heat,” Lonis said. “They did a heck of a job to save the other building.”

Cory Holt, R.J. Robinson, Tyler Schell and Nate Rutkowski were forced to work in between two of the barns in order to cool down the area near the outbuilding.

Eighteen Morenci firefighters were on the scene and about 30,000 gallons of water was used. Fairfield, Madison Township, Lyons, Clayton and Hudson assisted Morenci while Fayette sent a truck to Morenci’s station.

The farm is located between Horton and Bryant roads.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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