NEWBERRY TOWNSHIP — A large barn was destroyed by an early morning fire north of Covington.
Covington firefighters responded to a reported barn fire in the 9700 block of North Rangeline Road, north of State Route 185, shortly before midnight on Friday. Fire units were advised that there were other nearby buildings as well as propane tanks.
The first units on the scene reported the barn to be “fully engulfed” on their arrival. Bradford was an automatic mutual aid call for the blaze and Covington quickly requested additional tankers from Versailles, Russia, and Pleasant Hill, and Houston.
The barn was located some distance off the road, so a steady supply of tankers worked to keep dump tanks full as water was shuttled from Stillwater Prairie a short distance away.
Quick action by firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to nearby buildings.
Chief Bart Weer of the Covington Fire Department said that seven feeder calves perished in the fire, but several others managed to escape and made it to a nearby pasture field.
The barn also contained some half-dozen large round bales of hay.
One firefighter suffered from apparent heat exhaustion. Weer said that he was treated at the scene by Covington medics and returned to full duty.
Damage estimates to the barn and contents, which Weer said included some antique farm equipment, is being listed at between $100,00 and $120,000 dollars.
The cause of the fire is officially listed as “undetermined,” but Weer said there were storms in the area and neighbors reported hearing a loud “crack” shortly before the blaze was reported.
Mutual aid departments began to clear the scene around 2 a.m., while the Covington Fire Department remained until around 4 a.m.