Dover mayor's barn burns

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DOVER - A Thursday morning fire destroyed a barn on the property of Dover Mayor Randy Curless and caused the deaths of more than a dozen sheep.

According to Westside Fire District Fire Chief Dale Hopkins, there was no saving the barn by 5:30 p.m., when emergency personnel received the call. The fire had advanced too quickly, he said, and once firefighters arrived, their only option was to keep it from spreading.

"All we could do was surround and drown, as they say," Hopkins said.

According to Hopkins, only the structure's blackened frame remained once firefighters finished their work. About 20 lambs and ewes died in the fire.

The primary problem firefighters faced was the speed with which the fire spread. After the initial ignition, Hopkins said the fire likely found its way into straw and other combustible material that hastened the blaze. By the time Westside Fire District firefighters arrived, the fire chief said the building was fully engulfed.

"When I left my house, you could already see the glow in the sky," Hopkins said.

The fire was likely caused by an electrical problem since there were no ignition sources in the barn, Hopkins said. He suspects one of the heat lamps, which were powered through an extension cord stretching into the barn.

"That was probably the cause, but it's a total loss, so being exact is difficult," he said.

Westside Fire District received great support from both Sandpoint Fire Department, which brought another fire engine, and Northside Fire District, which brought a water tender, Hopkins said. With the help of other regional departments, the crews were able to quickly contain the fire. As always, the teamwork demonstrated at the scene of the fire was top-notch, Hopkins added.

"Working with (the other districts) is always a great experience," he said.

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