Alicia Rhea and her family could only watch as a more than 100-year-old barn on their property went up in flames Thursday night.
Arlington, Blair and Kennard firefighters responded to the blaze at approximately 9:30 p.m. at 8302 County Road 15, northeast of Arlington.
“There was no saving it,” Rhea said. “The fire department was awesome, but there was no way it could be saved.”
Rhea said she and her family were alerted to the fire by some passersby.
“I don't know who they are, but some very, very sweet people came and knocked on the door and said, 'Your barn is on fire.' They had noticed it,” she said. “It would have been totally gone before we would have noticed, I think. It was very nice of them to stop and let us know.”
Rhea ran to the barn to attempt to let out her daughter, Sarah's sheep, which were confined in a pen. One ewe had just had a lamb.
“But by the time I got close, it was really hot and you could see it was just orange right behind the door of the barn,” she said. “We decided it wasn't wise idea to go any further or try.”
Arlington Fire Chief Dan Douglas, who lives about two miles from the Rheas, said he could see very tall flames from his driveway.
“By the time the first units were on scene, (the barn) was starting to collapse,” he said.
Douglas said he suspects a heat lamp was the cause of the fire, which took firefighters about an hour to gain control. The barn was full of hay and feed.
“Plenty of combustibles for it to spread,” Douglas said.
Firefighters left the scene at approximately 12:30 a.m.
A horse and a mule, which had been in the barn, were able to escape, Rhea said. They'd also seen a couple of the barn cats running around the property since the fire.
But, she said, her family was devastated at the loss of the sheep and the barn.
“My kids invest so much time and energy and love into their animals. It was their home,” she said. “It's not just a building, but it was a building to so many animals for so long.”