Tobacco barn fire

Flames blast skyward Saturday afternoon as a tobacco barn burns along Old Salem Road east of Murray.

MURRAY — A portion of the fruits of this year’s tobacco harvest literally went up in smoke Saturday afternoon when the barn being used for curing the crop was destroyed by fire. 

Calloway County Fire-Rescue firefighter Chase Morgan said CCFR received a call at about 5:15 p.m. reporting a tobacco barn on fire on Old Salem Road about two miles east of Murray. He said it didn’t take responding firefighters very long to determine that this would be a matter of trying to prevent adjacent structures from igniting, as opposed to trying to save the barn on fire. 

“As a matter of fact, it was about three minutes after our first truck pulled up to it that the walls of the barn fell in,” Morgan said. “We had just finished conducting a search (that ended successfully for a lost individual) near New Concord and, as we’re coming up (KY) 121, we could see the smoke in the distance. You could tell (the fire) had to be going pretty good when you see it that well.” 

However, while the barn on fire was a lost cause, Morgan said much work remained to be done. 

“Oh yeah, even though the one barn was on the ground at that point, we’re still working to make sure other things don’t catch fire too. You had two barns in the same area that needed to be protected, plus you never want something like that spreading into woods, and there was a good line of trees not too far away,” he said. 

“To be honest, this is also the kind of fire that is the toughest to put out. Once the barn collapses, while it is true that this kind of knocks the flames down, you now have to sort through all of that metal and pretty much rip it out so you can get the water on it and put those flames out.”

Morgan said it is not known how much tobacco was lost or to whom the crop belonged. He added that CCFR had 15 to 20 firefighters respond to the blaze with six or seven trucks. 

He said they were on the scene until about 7:45 p.m. No injuries were reported.

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