A large barn in the Upperco area containing 10 tons of hay and more than a dozen pieces of farm equipment burned to the ground in a three-alarm fire Wednesday night.
The fire was discovered about 8 p.m. by Bruce Davidson, son of farm owner I. Watson Davidson, as he walked out of a garage next to his house, about 500 yards from the barn in the 1100 block of Emory Church Road.
Bruce Davidson operates the Davidson Christmas Tree Farm, where hundreds of people cut their own tree during the holiday season.
"I was working in the garage, and about 8 p.m. walked toward the house and saw a red glow at the back of the barn," Bruce Davidson said.
"I ran to the house and told my wife Judy to call 911 . . . and I ran to the truck and drove over to the barn. When I drove around the back, the fire was spreading from the one corner to the whole north side on the upper level of the old bank barn.
"My thoughts were of the equipment stored inside, but I couldn't get inside to get any of it, so I went to the lower level and started pulling some of the smaller tractors and lawn equipment out. I couldn't get all of it."
Mr. Davidson said a pickup truck,seven farm wagons and a farm rake were destroyed.
The seven wagons, three open-type hay wagons and four tank-type wagons used for spreading fertilizer and other materials belonged to Harry Weaver and his son,Richard, who work several farms including their own in the Upperco area of Baltimore and Carroll counties.
Fourteen pieces of fire equipment and at least 75 firefighters battled the blaze for more than three hours. They came from Hampstead, Reese, Manchester, Lineboro, and the Arcadia and Boring fire companies in Baltimore County.
Numerous explosions were heard during the fire, probably the small gasoline tanks of mowers and other equipment used in the Christmas tree business.
Water to fight the fire, which was visible for miles in the darkness, was shuttled to the scene by fire department tankers from a stream at Lees Mill and Carrollton roads, about a mile away.
The barn about outwas the third within less than a mile to be destroyed in 11 months. All three fires are under investigation, fire officials said.
A horse barn in the 5600 block of Emory Road burned to the ground Feb. 2, destroying hay, farm machinery and an antique buggy.
Another horse barn in the 5700 block of Emory Road was destroyed June 18. Farm equipment, hay and a new pickup truck were lost in that blaze.
Wednesday's fire is being investigated by the state fire marshal's office. Loss of the barn is estimated at $45,000, according to officials.