Firefighters battle Thursday morning structure fire

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Property owner William Caddell of Petrolia looks on as PVFD Fire fighter Marilyn Loucks uses a pike pole to locate hotspots in Caddell's garage Thursday after an early morning structure fire in Petrolia.

Property owner William Caddell of Petrolia looks on as PVFD Firefighters Sam Belknap and Marilyn Loucks use a pike pole to locate hotspots in Caddell’s garage Thursday after an early morning structure fire.

Volunteer fire fighters from three departments battled an early morning structure fire Thursday in Petrolia.

The blaze, first reported at about 7 a.m., destroyed a barn and heavily damaged a vacant house located at 106 S. Cypress Ave. Tony Fox of the Petrolia VFD said that when fire fighters arrived on scene, the barn was fully engulfed and fire had spread to the back porch of the home and into the roof.

Fox said fire fighting efforts were concentrated on saving the house.

Cause of the fire is unknown, but believed to have been caused by a possible electrical short or lightning strike.

Because the house was vacant, it had no gas or electrical connections, leading emergency personnel suspicious of the cause. When property owner William Caddell arrived, he told a deputy on scene that there was an electrical connection at the back of the barn.

A storm with heavy lightning passed through Petrolia at about 3 a.m.

Caddell used the house and barn for storage. Petrolia volunteer fire fighters remained on scene after the fire was contained to douse smoldering items and hotspots inside the barn.

Byers and Henrietta VFDs also responded to the blaze.

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Matt Kelton

Matt Kelton began working for community newspapers at 19 and has since won numerous awards. He founded The Pioneer Sentinel in 2011 with the belief that a locally owned news source best represents a community. Matt is a fifth generation resident of Clay County.

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