An old piece of the landscape north of Harlem is gone this morning after a fire Tuesday night.
The large 100-year-old barn, locally known as “Red Barn on the Northside, ” that belonged to Tom Ragsdale, owner of Ragsdale Construction Co., was struck by lightening around 9:30 p. m. Tuesday and burned down over night, according to Robert Scheffelmaer, chief of the Harlem Volunteer Fire Department.
“It’s basically a total loss, ” Scheffelmaer said. “We’re still cleaning and working on it. We had crews there all night and still have crews on it. ”
“The barn had quite a bit of stuff in it. We won’t know all that was in there until we start cleaning up inside. ”
Ragsdale, who used the barn to store equipment for his company, has been out of town, receiving medical care in Missoula for the past week or two.
According to an email from Vic Miller, Blaine County Commissioner and Harlem resident, some of that equipment contributed to the destruction, when welding materials stored in the barn exploded.
Fire departments from Fort Belknap and Chinook also came to the scene to help control the blaze.
Harlem Mayor Bill Taylor was checking on the barn this morning when he expressed his gratitude for all of those who came to help.
“They did a hell of a job, ” Taylor said. “I, and the city of Harlem, really appreciate it. ”