GETTYSBURG – Crews battled high winds Friday that fueled the flames of a vacant house lost to fire.
At approximately 4:30 p.m., emergency personnel from Gettysburg Fire and Rescue along with deputies from the Darke County Sheriff’s Department and multiple mutual aid companies from Darke and Miami counties were dispatched to the area of 7886 Spidel Road in regards to a fully involved structure fire. Arriving crews found an abandoned two-story farm house with heavy smoke and flames showing.
“We were just here two hours ago and everything was normal,” said the property caretaker, John Archey, speaking of himself and his son. “This house is so old, it has never had running water or plumbing installed. The property has been empty since 1974-75.”
Archey said although the house is unoccupied, it was and has been used for years as storage for farming supplies.
Gettysburg Fire Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Unger confirmed that the property indeed has been unoccupied for nearly 43 years, adding that he himself remembered riding by the residence while on the school bus as a child.
Fire crews remained on the scene for an extended period of time while battling the wind and flames.
Because of the age of the property and the damage from the fire, the structure was deemed unsafe for crews to enter and make an interior attack. Crews were challenged to extinguish the blaze from the exterior of the structure and its ground floor only.
Due to the unknown cause and questionable nature of the fire, investigators from the county were called to the scene to assist in the investigation. The fire will remain under investigation by the Darke County Sheriff’s Department and the Gettysburg Rural Fire Department.