Tanker task force activated in Flushing
FLUSHING – Flames tore through a hay-filled barn on Monday evening, leveling the structure as firefighters struggled to obtain water to battle the blaze.
Flushing Fire Chief Bob Eberhart said the building was fully involved in flames when his department answered the call for help, which was received by the Belmont County 911 dispatch center at 7:08 p.m. Eberhart said it was difficult to get water to the scene, which prompted the activation of the Belmont County Tanker Task Force.
Late Monday night, dispatchers said responders were still at the scene. They did not know offhand how many departments or emergency vehicles responded.
“I can’t even begin to count,” a dispatcher said.
As many as 25-30 fire engines, tanker trucks and ambulances clogged the lanes of Ohio 149 south of the village of Flushing. Among the departments present were the Belmont, Bethesda, Morristown, Lafferty, Neffs, Harrisville, Freeport, New Athens and Holloway volunteers as well as the Cumberland Trail Fire District. Belmont County sheriff’s deputies provided traffic control.
Hoses were twisted across the highway, connecting some of those emergency vehicles. Officials said it was necessary to use two trucks to relay water from the closest fire hydrant a few hundred yards away from the Kolanski property. That method did not provide sufficient water, so tanker trucks traveled to and from hydrants at places such as the Union Local School District campus to shuttle water to the scene.
“We had a problem getting water from the hydrant,” Eberhart said.
He added that a propane tank located just outside the barn between it and another building was a major concern as his department attacked the blaze. He said they worked to keep it cool and prevent an explosion.
After the fire was “fairly well knocked down,” according to Eberhart, a neighbor brought his track hoe in to begin tearing down the barn’s metal siding that was still standing and to drag away fallen debris that was concealing hotspots.
Firefighters remained at the scene well past 10 p.m. No injuries were reported.