Lightning sparks barn fire

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

The Stillwater Fire Department spent more than three hours extinguishing a pole barn fire on the 12000 block of Lockridge Avenue North Sunday night.

Damage to the 40-foot-by-50-foot pole barn was estimated at $350,000 after lightning struck nearby sparking the fire. There were no injuries.

Stillwater firefighters were dispatched to the location at 9:47 p.m. Sunday. Crews worked on the fire until 1:30 a.m. Monday. Firefighters were called back to the location at 6 a.m. after the fire rekindled.

The resident and neighbors reported strong winds and several lightning strikes in the area that shook area homes. About an hour after the multiple lightning strikes, residents saw smoke and fire coming from the barn.

Stillwater Fire Chief Stu Glaser said firefighters were unable to enter the building upon arrival and instead took an exterior attack.

"They were not going to go inside it because there was too much fire and too far advanced to do an interior attack," Glaswer said. "There may be one wall standing now," he added.

Water tenders from the Stillwater, Marine on St. Croix, Hugo, Bayport and Mahtomedi fire departments were sent to provide water supply, Additional responders included Lakeview EMS and the Washington County Sheriff’s deputies.

The SFD responded to 28 calls during the weekend, including grass and tree fires, fallen power lines and emergency medical service.