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Fire destroys barn, outbuilding

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A falling fuel tank is believed to have created a spark that started a blaze that destroyed a barn, an outbuilding and a pickup truck at a Radio Springs Road residence Thursday afternoon, according to information the homeowner told fire officials.

Barry and Suzan Casey had gotten home to their 1300 Radio Springs Road home around 4 p.m. Thursday. Barry had backed his Ford F-350 into the barn, with the backend of it inside, to do work on it, his wife said. Within about 10 minutes, the barn was up in flames, Suzan said.

Rome-Floyd County Fire Department Capt. Steve Bailey said Barry told him he had been trying to remove a fuel tank from the back of his truck when it fell and made a spark, lighting the fuel on fire. Barry was checked by Floyd Medical Center EMS personnel on scene after hair on his arms was singed — he also had experienced chest pains and difficulty breathing.

Firefighters got the call at 4:14 p.m. and arrived to find the barn, which already had a collapsed roof, and truck fully engulfed in flames, along with an adjacent outbuilding, Bailey said. The blaze started a fast-moving grass fire, which spread into a wooded area behind the barn.

Bailey said the initial response was to stop the grass fire, to ensure it didn’t continue to burn toward the two-story log cabin house.

Firefighters were aided in this effort by a neighbor who used his Bobcat skid-steer loader to plow a firebreak. Bailey said this allowed additional firefighters to spray down the burning barn, outbuilding and truck.

Bailey said there were small explosions from within the structures for the first five minutes of response before firefighters could get the fires knocked down. Firefighters stayed on scene for over an hour.

Suzan said all of her husband’s scuba diving equipment was inside the outbuilding and the barn was filled with various pieces of equipment. Additionally, the barn had family memorabilia, antiques and furniture inside, she said. All of the items, at a minimum, lost in the fire were valued at $100,000, she continued.

“I’ve never seen him shook up like he was awhile ago,” Suzan said of her husband, who had attempted to get a hose to put out the fire. “It could have been a lot worse. That stuff can be replaced, my husband can’t.”