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Fire engulfs a storage barn on the Reeves farm in Forest Hill Wednesday, as shown in this photograph taken by Scott Stevenson.
Fire engulfs a storage barn on the Reeves farm in Forest Hill Wednesday, as shown in this photograph taken by Scott Stevenson. (Photo courtesy of Scott Stevenson)

Fueled by windy conditions and its contents, a storage barn on a Forest Hill farm was destroyed by a fire Wednesday that was caused by sparks from welding inside the structure, according to investigators.

After the fire was reported around 11:45 a.m. in the 100 block of Chestnut Hill Road, on the farm owned by George and Mary Ellen Reeves, multiple fire companies rushed to the scene, but the building was totally engulfed in flames when the first units arrived, according to emergency radio broadcasts.

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Among the volunteer fire companies responding were Bel Air, Darlington, Fallston, Jarrettsville and Level. Other companies were called to fill in at the responding companies firehouses.

The fire appeared to be mostly under control by 12:15 p.m.; however, the ruins continued to smolder and firefighters remained on the scene for mop up duty.

The building, which had a small workshop on one side, appeared to be a total loss. The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office estimates the damage at $75,000 for the structure and $25,000 for contents, according to a notice of investigation issued Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters at the scene said straw, hay and grain were stored inside the barn.

The Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association reported on its media Facebook page that there were no injuries.

Deputy state fire marshals were at the scene to investigate the cause.

According to the notice of investigation, workers were installing a new I-beam inside the barn for support when sparks ignited some hay that was nearby. They used fire extinguishers to try to put the fire out but could not contain it.

"Wind gusts were a factor in the fire spreading throughout the structure," the notice of investigation states.

Chestnut Hill Road remained closed between Route 24 and Johnson Mill Road, according to the Fire and EMS Association.

Wednesday's fire was one of several structure fires reported in northern Harford County in the past week. Most have occurred under windy conditions.

Fire destroyed a utility building near Pylesville last Thursday, and another fire raced through a mobile home in Jarrettsville on Tuesday, gutting the structure. Several woods and field fires also have been reported.

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