Lightning Strike Burns Albemarle County Barn to the Ground

June 26, 2013

Wednesday's storm sent a large Albemarle County hay barn up in flames after it was struck by lightning around 4 p.m.

The barn, which only contained hay, was still smoldering into Wednesday night on Sycamore Creek Drive in North Garden.

"The hay is so dense and compact it's hard to extinguish," said Albemarle County assistant fire marshal Shawn Maddox.

At least $10,000 worth of hay was lost in the fire.

The man who owned the hay says the two-story structure was his father's childhood barn. He says it was struck by lightning and caught fire decades ago but managed to be saved then. This time, fire crews did not have the same luck.

"It's tough," said Chuck Pugh, assistant chief of the North Garden Volunteer Fire Company. "I suspect when he sits down he'll have tears in his eyes because this part of his history is gone, and it can't be replaced."

The barn's old age aided in its destruction.

"The structure itself went up really quickly because it was over 100 years old and the material was very, very dry and porous," said Pugh.

Fire crews sprayed enough water on the fire to keep it from spreading but were unable to put it out completely. They are letting it burn itself out.

Maddox and Pugh say it could smolder for a few days.

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