‘Pretty odd’: 2 fires break out an hour apart on same road

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HANCOCK COUNTY — Two fires about two

miles apart on the same

road broke out early Monday morning.

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Due to the location, the time and severity of both fires, officials originally were suspicious of their origins. But preliminary investigations indicate the fires more than likely started due to electrical problems.

Both fires occurred about an hour apart at addresses on West County Road 100N. One involved a barn and the other a home. No one was injured in either blaze, although the owner of the home that burned was taken to a hospital for unrelated medical reasons, officials said.

The barn was leveled. The home was heavily damaged.

The first call came in at 3:39 a.m. Monday. Firefighters arriving at the scene in the 5000 block of West County Road 100N found a barn fully engulfed in flames. Crews from the Buck Creek Township Fire Department; Greenfield Fire Territory; and Sugar Creek Township Fire Department were still battling that fire when the second call came in around 4:48 a.m. That fire involved a home in the 7100 block of West County Road 100N, about two miles west. Crews from Buck Creek, Greenfield, Sugar Creek and the Lawrence Fire Department responded to that blaze, said Rob White, public information officer for the Buck Creek department.

Firefighters were on the scene for more than five hours dealing with the barn fire and its aftermath. The property is owned Michael Vogt, who lives in an adjacent house, according to county property records. The home also was damaged by the blaze.

Flames were leaping from windows at the house two miles away when firefighters arrived there, said Brandon Kleine, who took over as chief of the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department over the weekend. Both occupants by then were out of the house, he said. The owner, Myron Stickle, 63, was taken to the hospital for unrelated medical reasons, officials said.

Firefighters from Greenfield were the first to have an engine on the scene, and they quickly got the fire under control in the single-story ranch residence, Kleine said. The spent six hours tamping down the flames and dousing hot spots.

“They got really aggressive with the fire and did a really good knockdown on it,” Kleine said.

Kleine, who has been in the fire service for 16 years, said he can’t recall ever having two fires on the same stretch of road break out at nearly the same time as happened early Monday morning.

“It’s pretty odd,” he said.

Capt. Andrew Neumeister, Buck Creek fire investigator, is in charge of investigating the house fire and said he hopes to have more information this week. But a preliminary conclusion is that the fire started as a result of an electrical issue in a front room that was used for an office.

“We won’t know for sure, though, until we finish the investigation,” Neumeister said.

Nick Baker, another Buck Creek investigator, drew the same early conclusion about the barn fire: It likely was caused by an electrical problem.