The Rio Fire Department is investigating a barn fire that spread to grass and hay bales and burned for seven hours on Wednesday.
Columbia County dispatch announced a barn fire at N4246 Hagan Road outside Rio at 1:25 p.m., to which the Rio Fire Department immediately called for assistance.
“We initially sent out a page, then a ‘third alarm,’ and then a ‘fourth alarm,’” said First Assistant Chief Brian Johnson. The department then sent out an all-call at 5 p.m. to “re-chime” area departments.
Eleven fire departments responded to help Rio Fire, where the barn fire spread to a grass fire, then with the wind carrying sparks to hay bales in a field east of the property.
Despite the extent of the fire, no one at the farm, owned by Norman and Beverly Taylor, reported injuries, with animals likewise reported to be OK, including cattle, which grazed amid a haze of smoke.
“We’re still investigating since there wasn’t any smoking gun,” Johnson said. “We’re seeing what the farmer was doing leading up to fire.”
Through the afternoon, 83 personnel responded to the fire, as the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Highway Department closed either end of Hagan Road. The Rio Fire Department cleared the scene at 8:30 p.m.