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Barn destroyed by fire

By KBell
Aug. 26, 2010 at 3:26 a.m.

Fire destroyed a barn filled with hay in the 2300 block of Ragsdale on Thursday afternoon. Eugene Hajek, 86, lives on the property and said the fire started after he burned trash in a ditch behind the barn.

KBDI INDEX The Keetch-Byram Drought Index predicts likelihood of wildfire based on soil moisture.

Based on a scale from 0 to 800 (extreme drought)

Victoria's KBDI is nearing 500, at which point fire intensity increases and escaped fire becomes difficult to control

Source: www.dfr.state.nc.us/

INEZ - A barn full of hay was destroyed by fire Thursday afternoon.

The tin barn at 2372 Ragsdale Road caught fire about 2 p.m.

Eugene Hajek, 86, lives on the property that is owned by his stepson, he said.

Hajek said he was burning trash in a ditch behind the barn and left to cook lunch when he thought the fire was out.

About two hours later, Hajek said he saw smoke coming from the back of the barn, which quickly became engulfed in flames.

"I've never seen anything catch on fire so fast," Hajek said.

The Inez Fire Department and Victoria's city and county fire departments responded to the fire, which was contained to the barn.

"Luckily, we had plenty of help today," County Fire Marshal Ron Pray said, as firefighters monitored the flames.

"When we arrived, the barn was fully involved. There was nothing to save and no occupants inside," Pray said.

Hajek said he wasn't sure how many hay bales were inside, but that his stepson had been wanting to clean out the barn for 15 years.

"I did it," Hajek said. "Boy, I tell you, it's clean."

Pray said recent hot temperatures have dried out grass in the area, increasing the chance of a fire spreading.

Pray advised that the safest way to burn trash is to put it in a 55-gallon barrel with a screen on top. The barrel should be surrounded by a 10-foot radius of mineral soil and people should have a shovel and bucket of water nearby.

"If people don't pay attention, we're going to have to initiate a county burn ban," Pray said.

Pray expected firefighters to be on the scene for several hours Thursday afternoon and anticipated using 8,000 to 10,000 gallons of water to completely extinguish the fire.

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