Story by Rick Hiduk / Photos by Rick Hiduk, Ariel McKennas and Tina Champluvier
(Also posted at www.Rocket-Courier.com)
A barn on North Flat in Windham Township, Wyoming County, across the river from Laceyville may be a total loss, but owners Allan and Tina Champluvier are counting their blessings. Nobody was injured in the early morning blaze, and the storage facility was mostly empty.
“Being summer, most of the equipment was in the fields being used,” noted Tina, who described what remained in the structure as minor and trivial things.
Allan agreed, despite losing about five thousand dollars worth of lumber stored in the barn, various hand tools, and a boat trailer. He was able to move a tractor and hay head parked near the barn to a safer location, but not before they were both singed by the blaze.
Laceyville Goodwill Fire Company chief Brian Yurgatis, assistant chief Paul Leatso, and firefighter Don Fowler were still on the scene at 10 am, having been called out at about 3:45 am. They were eventually joined by fire companies and EMTs from FWM Fire Department and companies from Meshoppen, Springville, Tunkhannock, Rush, Herrickville, Wysox, Wyalusing, and Wilmot.
Unfortunately, the right side of the barn was already fully involved when the Goodwill crew arrived. The fire quickly spread into the left side of the barn.
“By the time we got here, it was pretty much gone,” said Tina, noting that she and Allan were called at their Spring Hill home by friends at about 4:15 am. “A Meshoppen EMT said, from across the river, they thought the whole field was on fire.”
Nearby resident Ariel McKennas was apparently the first person to notice the fire and call for help. “She tried to call me via Facebook messenger, but we’re not connected, so it didn’t come through,” Tina stated.
McKennas explained that her dog woke her up, presumably to go outside. As she passed her kitchen window, the flames caught her eye. “At first, I thought that it was my neighbor’s house,” McKennas related. “Then I walked down the road and could see it was the barn.” She said she made the 911 call at 3:48 am.
McKennas posted several photos on Facebook with the comment “It’s truly sad to see this happen to my neighbor’s barn this morning.” She also complimented area fire companies for their overwhelming response.