A state police fire marshal has launched an investigation to determine what sparked a fast-moving barn fire near Boyertown.
Firefighters from at least 12 different departments responded to battle the fierce flames in Douglass Township, Montgomery County.
Heavy flames shot through the roof and into the air around noon Monday in the 200 block of Swamp Creek Road. Firefighters found the barn, which was filled with hay, fully involved when they arrived, and a second alarm was struck right away.
"The smoke cloud could be seen from miles away," said Chief Rick Smith, Gilbertsville Fire Company.
Crews fought through a smoky scene and drowned the flames with water to bring the fire under control.
The property was purchased in 2004 by Global Advanced Metals, which is located a few thousand feet from the fire scene. The barn was used by a local farmer.
"As I rounded the building, I saw him coming around the other side and so I was thankful to see him unharmed," said Tim Knapp, global safety, health and environmental manager for the company.
Tanker trucks were called in from the Montgomery County Tanker Strike Force and firefighters from Berks County and beyond helped run two lines into a nearby creek for more ammunition.
Crews were also battling against the heat. Many could be seen drinking water trying to cool down.
"It took a toll on some of the firefighters because we just haven't been acclimated to this kind of weather yet," said Smith.
The state police fire marshal snapped photos and sifted through the rubble to try and figure out how the fire started.
"It's fortunate that no one was injured and it only was a structure that could be rebuilt if we decide to do so," said Knapp.
Smith said the barn is a total loss, but an exact cause has not been determined.