Fire breaks out in barn, damage to building was 'minimal'
TOWANDA TOWNSHIP - A fire on Tuesday caused "minimal" damage to a barn on South Main Street in Towanda Township, which is used as a workshop by local contractor Rob Hartmann, the Towanda fire chief said.
Hartmann has an office area and machine shop in the barn for his businesses, Fox Chase Woodworks & Restoration, and Rob Hartmann Contracting.
Hartmann said the fire will have no effect on his businesses, which will stay in operation.
"Nothing was affected whatever" related to the two businesses, he said.
The blaze started as a chimney fire and spread to the roof area, Towanda Fire Chief Bill Roof said.
Firefighters were dispatched to the fire at 11:08 a.m. and quickly put out the fire, he said.
The only area of the barn that was damaged was an approximately four foot by four foot section of the roof, according to Hartman.
He said he had been using a wood stove to heat the barn earlier in the day. The heat from the stove ignited creosote in the chimney, he said.
He said he had cleaned out the chimney in 2012 with a brush, but said that the creosote must have built back up in the chimney over the past year.
"I must have been burning some green wood," he said.
Hartmann said he almost did not discover the fire.
Hartmann explained that he was in his truck, and would have driven away from his property, when he remembered that he needed some adhesive. He got out of the truck, smelled the smoke, looked up and saw it coming out of the peak of the barn's roof.
He said that if he had not gotten out of the truck and had just driven off, he would have lost the barn.
There was so much lumber in the barn that it would have burned for days, he said.
Hartmann said he wanted to compliment the firefighters for the professional job they did in fighting the fire.
He said there wasn't water damage to the barn, because he used a Shop-Vac to remove the water.
Besides the Towanda Fire Company, there were firefighters on scene from the Monroeton, Wysox, and North Towanda fire companies.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.