Firefighters battle fire, extreme heat in Monroe Twp. barn blaze

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MONROE TWP, Cumberland County -- Approximately 30 units from across Cumberland and York Counties were called out to a fully-engulfed barn fire Friday morning.

Crews responded shortly after 10:15 a.m.  to a fire at a barn owned by John and Diane Stamy on Brandt Road. Neighbors helped the family save an estimated 60 cows and one horse from the barn before it collapsed under the flames. One calf was killed.

There were no injuries to firefighters or neighbors.

The fire is believed to have started inside the barn when heat caused hay to ignite, according to Cumberland County spokesperson Megan Silverstrim.

Firefighters arrived on the scene by the dozens. Most units brought their tanker trucks to provide water due to the lack of a nearby fire hydrant.

As crews fought the flames tearing through the barn, the heat from a sunny day pushed over 90 degrees. When firefighters weren't dousing the fire, many laid underneath trees on the Stamy's front yard to cool off.

"It's very overwhelming," said barn owner Diane Stamy. "I can't say enough about the people who have come."

Holy Spirit EMS supplied dozens of cases of water to firefighters, according to EMT Andy Gannon. Due to the extreme heat, firefighters were asked to work in shifts to avoid heat-related illnesses.

"With all the gear that they're in, around 120 to 125 pounds per person, they're just cooking," Gannon said. "It's intensive, hard work, so we like to make sure they get rotated out, get them fluids, and get them cooled off. If they have any medical problems we check for vital signs to make sure they're okay."

"We're going to force water onto them until they can't take anymore fluid," he added.

The barn is a total loss, Silverstrim said, and the Stamy's estimate over $50,000 in damages, not including the toll on their farming business.

"We've had a stressful summer. It seems as though everything which can go wrong, has gone wrong," Diane Stamy said, adding her husband, John, has undergone recent health issues. "On top of that, the milk prices are pathetic. The grain prices are pathetic. The meat prices are pathetic. But we'll make it."