GREENVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – A three-alarm fire destroyed a historic barn at the Darke County Fairgrounds Thursday night.

Greenville firefighters responded around 9:30 p.m. Thursday for reports of a structure fire. They arrived to find growing flames at the swine barn and called for mutual aid from eight neighboring departments. Piqua and Burkettsville fire departments responded with ladder trucks to help prevent the fire from spreading to nearby buildings.

“If we wouldn’t have been able to protect those exposures, we would have ended up with three or four barn fires,” Greenville fire chief Russell Thompson explained.

Chief Thompson said the crews battled the fire until almost 3:00 a.m. Friday.

Darke County Fair Manager Brian Rismiller told 2 NEWS he first heard about the fire and started driving toward the fairgrounds around 9:00 p.m. He could see the flames from several miles away from the source.

“It was huge. I mean, it was just amazing how it glowed in the sky with the flames,” Rismiller said. “I knew if was a pretty large structure, but I didn’t know it was at the fairgrounds for certain at that time.”

Rismiller’s suspicions were confirmed and his heart sank when he saw the swine barn collapse under the hot flames.

“It was just a nice building and it’s a huge loss for us to not have this building around here any more,” he said.

Friday, the barn was reduced to mounds of twisted metal and a charred wooden frame. Rismiller explained the fair uses it for storage during the offseason, so it was filled with almost a dozen stored vehicles. He said one owner had been restoring an antique tractor inside for years.

“It’s sad. Several things can be replaced, but the old tractor, depending on how much sentimental value it might have had to somebody, that probably could not be replaced,” Rismiller said.

Investigators estimated it could take several days to determine the cause of the fire. Friday, they were sifting through debris to find the source and planned to review surveillance video from the fairgrounds.

Insurance adjusters were also conducting an investigation. 

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