REELSVILLE -- A weekend fire that destroyed a Reelsville man's barn was caused by children playing with matches, the fire chief said Sunday.
Reelsville Fire Chief John McPherson contacted the Banner Graphic and said he wanted to take the opportunity to warn the public about the dangers of children playing with fire.
"This is an example of how dangerous it is for kids to play with matches and lighters," McPherson said. "Fortunately no one was injured, but a man's entire barn and everything inside is gone now."
The fire began Friday evening at around 7 p.m., McPherson said, when two young girls were in Eugene Summers' barn in the 6000 block of South CR 800 West.
"Upon interviewing adults and children at the scene, the two young girls admitted they were playing with matches inside the barn. They caught a bale of hay on fire and it spread rapidly from there," McPherson said.
He said the girls tried to put the fire out by themselves but became scared and ran for help. By the time firefighters from Reelsville and later Greencastle arrived on scene, the barn had completely collapsed in the flames.
The approximately 2,500-square-foot barn was loaded with straw and hay, McPherson said, and total value was estimated at $10,000. Firefighters stayed with the fire until they felt it had burned down enough to where it would not spread to anything else in the area.
He said he felt he could not let the opportunity pass by to remind parents and children to stay away from these types of dangers.
"Children should never play with matches or lighters, especially without adult supervision," he said. "They are definitely not toys. This is a situation that could have been a whole lot worse."