Cause of swine barn fire at Darke County Fairgrounds still unknown

UPDATE @ 12:59 p.m. (Oct. 26):

Firefighters returned this morning to the swine barn that was destroyed by fire late Thursday night.

Greenville Fire Chief Russ Thompson said they were still working to sift through the damage to determine a cause and origin of the fire.

>> Photo gallery from the swine barn fire

The barn was used to store RVs, tractors, boats and other items during the months when it is not used for the Great Darke County Fair, Thompson said.

UPDATE @ 11:58 p.m. (Oct. 25): The fire that destroyed the swine barn at The Great Darke County Fairgrounds caused heat damage to multiple barns, including the neighboring Cow Palace barn rebuilt after fire destroyed the earlier version of that structure in 2013.

>> Photo gallery from the swine barn fire

"The roof [to the swine barn] is gone and most of the walls have collapsed onto the main floor," Greenville City Fire Chief Russ Thompson said.

City fire crews initially dispatched just after 9 p.m. could see flames in the distance as they were en route, he said. The response to the fire was escalated once the first crews arrived.

Nine departments -- eight from Darke County and a ladder truck from Piqua -- were dispatched, Chief Thompson said. No injuries were reported.

In addition to the handling the heat damage to the barns, Thompson said crews also dealt with hot spots on roofs of cottages across the street from the fairgrounds.

Thompson said the fire department's critique of the 2013 Cow Palace barn fire helped the Greenville department develop a plan to handle a fire such as the one Thursday night.

The 2013 Cow Palace fire caused at least $1 million damage.

UPDATE @ 11:34 p.m.: 

The investigation has begun to determine the cause of the fire that has destroyed the swine barn at The Great Darke County Fairgrounds.

UPDATE @ 10:01 p.m.:

The roof of the swine barn collapsed about 9:40 p.m. as flames continue to destroy the structure. It’s the second large structure fire on the grounds since 2013.

Kristi O’Mara, who lives on the fairgrounds with her husband, said she saw fireworks exploding in the flames.

“I came outside and everything was on fire,” she said. “There were fireworks going on in the middle of the fire.”

O’Mara owns 11 horses and keeps them in the horse barn, which is at the other end of the fairgrounds, away from the swine barn.

All of the horse barns are OK, she said.

There was another large barn fire at the fairgrounds, in December 2013 when the Cow Palace barn was lost to flames.

>> VIDEO: Smoke from Darke County barn fire appearingo on Doppler 7 Radar | 'Cow Palace' in ruins after 2013 fire

One firefighter was injured in that blaze. At the time of the fire, the Cow Palace was being used to store vehicles and trailers.


The swine barn at the The Great Darke County Fairgrounds is fully engulfed in flames, which are being described as “a towering inferno,” and crews are on scene.

The fire was reported about 9:14 p.m. at the fairgrounds, where the main gate is in the 800 block of Sweitzer Street.

The barn is believed to be used for storage in the off season.

We're working to learn more and we will update this developing report.

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