Barn fire

Billowing smoke rises as firefighters spray water into a barn fire along the New Boston Blacktop on Sunday morning.

NEW BOSTON, Ill. — Firefighters from several Illinois communities responded to a barn fire just across the Mississippi River from Muscatine late Sunday morning. Units from the Andalusia, Buffalo Prairie, Illinois City and Reynolds volunteer fire departments responded to the blaze at 13501 322nd Street, known as the New Boston Blacktop.

Billowing black and gray smoke could be seen for miles, including from Muscatine, as firefighters arrived on the scene and began pouring water into the flames. It soon became apparent the structure could not be saved and the objective would be to keep the fire contained. Tanker trucks crossed the Norbert Beckey Bridge into Muscatine to fill up with water.

Brad Salmon, who lives in the adjacent house, wasn't home when the fire broke out. "I was at work in Buffalo Prairie," Salmon said. "My brother is on the volunteer fire department here. He called me at about a quarter after eleven. It happened fast."

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Salmon said three tractors, two balers, two lawn mowers, "a whole shopfull of tools," a generator, "and a bazillion other things I can't think of right now" were in the barn as well as a small amount of hay. Salmon rents the property from Randy Murdock of Buffalo Prairie and wasn't sure how much of the loss would be covered by insurance. 

As he watched the structure go up in flames, Salmon speculated the fire's cause was electrical.

"That's what I'm guessing," he said.

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