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Our 80 year-old hay barn caught fire and burned down in minutes on Monday.

There was no electricity to the barn, no stored hay, and no lightning.

I assume it was trespassers.

Don't know if it was arson, young kids dropped a cigarette or joint, idiot with a rifle hit some old steel, or some even stranger event?

I investigated with a sheriff's deputy and the fire captain, but nothing looked suspicious. There were no tire tracks. There was no walking path, as if it had become a hangout for local teens.

Perhaps it was a homeless person, but our farm is off of the beaten path of any roads leaving the nearest small city.

I have my game cams up for deer, but they are mostly on the opposite side of the property and captured nothing.

I just hope it is not some teen arsonist that is going to escalate. There are far too many unattended out-buildings in our area of farms!

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FishinRod, I'm sorry to hear that.


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Thanks, esshup.

I don't think we were ever going to use the barn in the future - so no big loss. It was built for a time prior to 5' big round bales.

However, in the five minutes it took me to see the smoke, drive to the fire, and line out the fire conditions to 911, the fire had already started running through our mowed grass field! That took six fire trucks to extinguish. (We just let the barn burn down, since there was no chance of saving it.)

My biggest concern is an arson fire that gets into our grass and traps my nephews out hunting, or the boy scouts asleep in their tents just before sunrise.

I burn big brush piles at our property. A big fire that is not moving, is NOT scary. A medium fire that is moving rapidly is VERY scary!

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So sorry about the fire. Seems strange given the conditions you described.
















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I was actually out filling deer feeders on the other side of our property that day.

I thought the catalytic converter on my truck touching a grass bunch was the most likely cause of the fire. After the fire was contained, I went back over the two places where I drove within a 1/8th of a mile of the barn. No sign of fire from either driving location.

Has anyone ever heard of an old building catching fire just by two pieces of lumber rubbing across each other to create ignition by friction?

It was a low wind day (7-8 mph from the SW), and the barn has seen MANY days of 35+ mph winds. However, who knows what could happen if you set up the perfect harmonic to maximize movement.

Last edited by FishinRod; 11/29/21 05:26 PM. Reason: Edited for clarity.
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Originally Posted by FishinRod
I was actually out filling deer feeders on the other side of our property that day.

I thought the catalytic converter on my truck touching a grass bunch was the most likely cause of the fire. After the fire was contained, I went back over the two places where I drove within a 1/8th of a mile of the barn. No sign of fire from either driving location.

Has anyone ever heard of an old building catching fire just by two pieces of lumber rubbing across each other to create ignition by friction?

It was a low wind day (7-8 mph from the SW), and the barn has seen MANY days of 35+ mph winds. However, who knows what could happen if you set up the perfect harmonic to maximize movement.

Impossible in those conditions you describe.


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Rod I'm sorry to say but its sounds like it was intentional if you ask me. On a good note they say all criminals return to the scene of the crime. I would set up a trail cam on it. It wouldnt be enough evidence for court 😉. But you would know who you can take off the Christmas list for sure.


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Rod, sorry to hear. Glad nobody was hurt. I haven't been the victim of a similar event whether man made or natural, but if yours was man made, that is scary.


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Originally Posted by esshup
Impossible in those conditions you describe.

That is what I thought. I guess "man-made" is the conclusion.



Further, it appears that the consensus of the experts is that I need even more game cams!

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Man, I hate that. Not knowing how it started has to make it worse.

Short of finding accelerants, the cause of fires like you had can really be hard to lock down because the fire destroys the evidence. I'm not even sure game camera pics, unless they showed the actual event, would legally prove anything other than trespassing. Now having said that, if you get a pic of a guy crawling under your fence at 3am, and a fire started right after that, any local law enforcement or fire marshal should jump on that evidence, and at least have a very solid suspect. I'm not sure how Kansas handles potential arson fires, but here, a public safety injury of any type escalates the penalty, and effort put in to determine the cause.

You've pretty much covered all the potential causes, and I would also guess it's arson. It's just that it can be really hard to prove.

Last edited by FireIsHot; 11/30/21 09:42 AM. Reason: ADD

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I have seen a wood pile start on fire when sunlight was magnified through an old glass window pane.
















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SSS

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Originally Posted by RAH
SSS

"pour encourager les autres."


The SSS system would certainly work well, if it could by widely broadcast on social media, yet kept secret at the same time!

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