McHenry Co. sheriff's office investigates string of barn fires
WOODSTOCK – Investigators say a string of recent barn fires could be related.
There have been at least six barn fires in rural Woodstock, Marengo and Harvard in less than two months. Similar fires also have been reported in Kane, Boone and DeKalb counties.
“We’re concerned for the farming community,” said McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke. “We need to make sure their property, as well as their safety, is a top priority.”
Although the majority of the blazes have occurred in the southwest corner of the county, similar reports have been made near McHenry and McCullom Lake.
Crews also extinguished a fire Tuesday night at an abandoned barn in the 22500 block of River Road in Marengo for the second consecutive night. The blaze has been deemed suspicious by investigators, although they are unsure how it started, Zinke said.
There also was a barn fire Tuesday night in the 9600 block of Lucas Road in Crystal Lake.
Firefighters arrived about 9 p.m. to find the barn fully engulfed in flames, according to the Crystal Lake Fire Department. The blaze was under control in about 45 minutes.
The barn was unoccupied. Damage to the structure and its contents are estimated at $90,000.
Besides property damage and the possibility of injury, barn fires pose special challenges for the firefighters, said Deputy Chief Ken Caudle of the Huntley Fire Protection District. They include limited access to water because the majority of barns are in rural areas. And because of the county is in severe drought, secondary fires tend to accompany the original call.
“Not only do we have to put it out, but we have to bring the water to put it out,” Caudle said. “This causes delays, which causes the fire to get worse, meaning there is a lot more work for us to do.”
Investigators are urging residents to be on the lookout for suspicious activity near barns.
Residents with any information regarding any barn fire can call 800-762-7867 or 815-338-2144. Tips also can be emailed to email@example.com.
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