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Flames consume barn, hay at Rogers Sale

Morning Journal/Deanne Johnson Firefighters from four departments battled heavy smoke after fire tore through an open air pavilion holding round bales of hay on Wednesday evening.

ROGERS — An open air barn full of round bales of hay was destroyed Wednesday evening at the Rogers Community Auction and Flea Market, which is commonly known as the Rogers Sale.

Owner Ken Baer said the round bales inside had just been sold at auction earlier in the afternoon, but there really was no one around that area at that time. No one was injured.

A man who had purchased some of the hay and had come to pick it up was the first one to see the fire. According to Baer, that man said he saw some children playing around there before the fire, but the start of the fire is not known.

This is the second time a fire has destroyed a building at the Rogers Sale. The last time was in May of 2017.

Baer said just like the last time, he plans to rebuild the pavilion. A new metal open air barn sits just to the east of the one that caught fire on Wednesday.

Black smoke from the fire could be seen from Lisbon and Calcutta and it attracted the attention of many people, who came to see what had caught fire and watch firefighters.

Lisbon Fire Chief Paul Gresh said the open structure caught fire on the east end and the wind fanned the flames straight down through the building like a “wind tunnel.” Besides the Lisbon department, Gresh said firefighters responded from Negley, West Point and New Waterford. Hanover Township firefighters were on stand by while firefighters were gone from the Lisbon area.

The compacted round hay bales held in the flames and smoldered, leading to firefighters and loader operators from the Rogers Sale to work together to tear apart the bales so they could be doused with more water, but this also caused more oxygen to fan the flames inside.

Gresh said eventually the plan would be to push it all toward the center of the destroyed structure and dose it well with water. He said at this point the cause of the fire is unknown.

Baer said unfortunately the building usually would have been cleaned out before Friday, so that vendors could set up inside in time for the weekly flea market sale. With the fire, however, work on cleaning up the area would not begin until the insurance company had a chance to look at it.

djohnson@mojonews.com