Damages total $3 million in Montgomery Co. Hwy. Dept. barn fire


MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Montgomery County Highway Department is scrambling to figure out how to deal with the upcoming winter weather, after its barn went up in flames Sunday night.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire. But how will the extensive damage impact work this winter?

Montgomery County Commissioner Terry Hockersmith hopes the department will be ready for its first snowfall.

Thirteen of the highway department’s snow trucks were in the barn at the time of the fire. Hockersmith said the crew is responsible for plowing 835 miles of road.

“There’s never a good time, but this is probably one of the worst that it could have happened,” Hockersmith said.

The Crawsfordville Fire Department responded to an automatic alarm call a little before 8 p.m. Sunday. Fire Chief Scott Busenbark said it is one of the most intense fires he has seen.

” [When] crews first arrived, it was through the roof and the building was pretty much fully engulfed,” Busenbark said.

Crawfordsville Fire contacted the State Fire Marshal while crews battled the flames.

“Just from the dollar loss we had and from the size of the fire, you know, it’s gonna be hard to pin point exactly where that fire started,” Busenbark said. “So, we called the State Fire Marshal.”

Hockersmith estimates $3 million in damage, including the destruction more than a dozen snow plows.

“Everything in the building’s a total loss,” he said.

Hockersmith said his crew would be scrambling if surrounding counties did not reach out to help. So far, he has heard from Tippecanoe, Boone and Putnam counties.

“We appreciate all the offers we’re getting, and it’s a good testament to the communities we have here in Indiana,” Hockersmith said.

Before the fire, the department ordered two new trucks. Now, the highway director is contacting the company to try and get the trucks to the county as soon as possible.

Hockersmith said when the snowfall arrives, he hopes they will be ready.