Historic house heavily damaged in Tuesday fire

Tuesday, August 13, 2019
A historic brick home north of Brick Chapel was destroyed in an early-morning fire Tuesday.
Courtesy Greencastle Fire Department

BRICK CHAPEL — The red brick walls of a 140-year-old house on the west side of U.S. 231 are still standing following a major fire Tuesday morning.

Besides that, the roof is destroyed and the interior is heavily damaged. It remains to be seen what will become of the historic home.

Firefighters remained on the scene of the blaze at 3864 N. U.S. 231 for at least nine hours getting the fire under control and then investigating its origin.

No one was in the residence when emergency crews were first called to the area after 2 a.m. for a report of a power line down.

At the time of the initial investigation, a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy noticed a glow behind the house, but believed it to be a security light.

Courtesy Putnam County Sheriff's Department

The problem was soon discovered to be much more serious, and the Bainbridge Fire Department was dispatched to the scene around 2:30 a.m.

Bainbridge was soon calling for assistance, with departments from three counties taking part in battling the blaze, as Floyd Township, Russellville, Roachdale, Cloverdale, Madison Township, Clinton Township, Greencastle and Putnamville Correctional Facility from Putnam County were all on scene.

Joining them were Rockville, Marshall and Bellmore from Parke County, as well as Mill Creek Township from Hendricks County.

Additionally, Fillmore Fire Department covered the Bainbridge station while its trucks and responders were at the scene.

Putnam County Operation Life and the sheriff’s department were also at the scene.

Also assisting the in the aftermath of the fire was the American Red Cross and 1-800-BOARDUP.

With tankers and engines from several departments at the scene, U.S. 231 was closed for several hours, with INDOT crews diverting traffic at U.S. 36 and the Putnam County Fairgrounds.

Eventually the road was reopened to just one lane of traffic before normal traffic was resumed late Tuesday morning.

The Greencastle aerial truck, which is not currently fully operational, was even called to the scene simply for taller ladders to assist with the large house and its 14-foot ceilings.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office was called to the scene to investigate the cause, which has been narrowed down to either a lightning strike or relating to the downed power line in the area.

The exact cause remained undetermined as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Owned by Brian Garrard for the last three-and-a-half years, the house was built by the O’Hair family in 1879 and remained owned by the family for three generations.

“It’s really sad,” Garrard said. “It was a beautiful, red Italianate and to have lightning hit and do this much damage when it’s been standing for almost 150 years is just really sad.”

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  • Why was my comment deleted about the location of this house fire?????

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Tue, Aug 13, 2019, at 2:47 PM
  • We want to thank all the responders for their hard work and long hours they put into trying to save this home. We could only watch from our house across the road to see how many protect us all from losses such as this. God bless all of you. Bryan we are sorry for your loss too.

    -- Posted by rod.earley on Tue, Aug 13, 2019, at 4:59 PM
  • So sad to see this. I always loved this house.

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Tue, Aug 13, 2019, at 6:34 PM
  • with INDOT crews diverting traffic at U.S. 35 and the Putnam County Fairgrounds.

    Where is U.S. 35??? I have never even heard of a U.S. 35.

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Tue, Aug 13, 2019, at 9:47 PM
  • Well, Google Earth shows U.S. 35 in Ohio.

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Tue, Aug 13, 2019, at 9:56 PM
  • Don. I bet you have never made a typographical error in your life.

    So many thanks to all of the emergency personnel that spent many hours at this fire. Your services are very much appreciated as always.

    -- Posted by Nit on Wed, Aug 14, 2019, at 8:37 AM
  • Nit--yes, I have made typographical errors on my computer but, I own up to them. The Banner Graphic is well-known to make a lot of them. I don't think the writers proof read their articles.

    I simply wanted to know where the fire was. This in no way diminishes the valiant efforts of the fire fighters as any fire can be life threatening.

    My original comment was censured by the Banner Graphic and deleted. Why does this have to happen in the first place?.

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Wed, Aug 14, 2019, at 2:22 PM
  • Don - my suggestion would be to contact the Banner manager by phone instead of your comments on here.

    -- Posted by Nit on Wed, Aug 14, 2019, at 3:09 PM
  • Nit--who made you the "Comments Police"?

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Wed, Aug 14, 2019, at 7:32 PM
  • Don - none of your comments are deleted. I can, unfortunately, see all of your rants about a simple typo. We all know what they meant, you’ve just decided to be ridiculous about it.

    -- Posted by techphcy on Thu, Aug 15, 2019, at 8:22 AM
  • Don—

    It’s “proofread”, “censored”, and

    “life-threatening” so there’s that.

    -- Posted by Moretothestory on Thu, Aug 15, 2019, at 1:52 PM
  • Moretothestory - that put Don in his place!! I doubt we hear back from this nitpicker. Thanks

    -- Posted by rosco&ginger on Thu, Aug 15, 2019, at 3:33 PM
  • Moretothestory--But, I do own up to my mistakes, I am human and have made my share.

    This whole commenting started when I simply wanted to find out exactly where the fire was--that's all. No one could tell me where. All anyone wants to do is write comments regarding my comments. Not even the Banner Graphic has been able to do that. I guess it's just not that important for the residents of Putnam county to come forth and answer my original question. How obtuse!!!

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Thu, Aug 15, 2019, at 6:08 PM
  • The next time I drive thru Putnam county I, myself, will find where the fire was. Now all of the keyboard bullies can go. . . you know where.

    -- Posted by Don Antonio on Thu, Aug 15, 2019, at 8:08 PM
    Response by Banner Graphic:
    3864 N US 231, Greencastle,IN 46135
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