Three-alarm fire razes Barss Corner outbuilding

by Keith Corcoran

Muggy weather conditions fighting a blaze that razed an outdoor furnace near New Germany proved too harsh for one first responder taken to hospital by paramedics after sustaining a heat-related medical problem.

The volunteer firefighter was taken to South Shore Regional Hospital by ambulance where he was treated for heat illness, said Blair Lantz, chief of the New Germany volunteer fire department. The responder was later released from hospital.

Volunteer crews from New Germany, Hemford and Northfield district departments helped extinguish the August 6 incident off the Barss Corner Road in Barss Corner. First responders were summoned around 11:45 a.m. to the Penney residence, in the area near the Cornwall Road intersection, after reports a furnace blew-up and ignited a building.

There wasn't a furnace explosion, Lantz told LighthouseNOW, instead the culprit was a barbecue-style propane tank. The fire started in the back of the outdoor furnace where wood is loaded into the unit, used to heat the home, water system and swimming pool.

Flames spread from the wood to a nearby three-by-two-metre shed containing a generator, tools, and rototiller. Those contents were destroyed, Lantz said.

The storage shed was within five metres from a barn full of hay. "The way the wind was blowing, there was a possibility the barn could have caught on fire, but it didn't," the fire chief added.

Neither the barn nor a house, located 15-metres from the shed, were damaged.

Emergency crews had the fire knocked down in 20-minutes but remained on scene for about three hours to ensure the flames were extinguished. It's believed the furnace and outbuilding are covered by insurance.

The furnace will need replacing, Lantz said. There is "too much damage to come to a conclusion" on a cause of the fire, he said.

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