Family members of farm owner Paul Ebersol said the barn held tens of thousands of ducks. Franklin Fire Co. Deputy Chief Jeremy Rebok said he wasn’t sure what was in the barn and believed there might have been chickens inside rather than ducks.
Reported at 12:15 p.m. as a brush fire, wind quickly spread the flames to a coop that measured about 300 feet by 75 feet, Rebok said.
“The fire originated from a large pile of wood pallets. With the 35-mph winds, it just drove the fire into the structure,” he said.
Ebersol’s family said he burned the pallets to heat the barns and dumped ashes in the area where the fire started. They said he always tries to ensure the ashes are extinguished before leaving them.
Rebok said 50 firefighters from Franklin and Cumberland counties in Pennsylvania laid “thousands of feet of five-inch” hose to transport water to the scene, which is near Sunset Auto Sales.
“When we arrived, the partial building collapse had already started. At that point in time, it was declared a defensive attack” from the outside, Rebok said.
No injuries were reported. A tow truck arrived around 2 p.m. to pull out a firetruck that was stuck in mud in a soybean field.
The affected barn was destroyed, Rebok said. Firefighters planned to work with Ebersol to use a front-end loader to remove debris and control areas that might rekindle, he said.
Smoke from the fire could be seen from Interstate 81 in the Chambersburg area.