Fire starts during thunderstorm
By Scott Bellile
An overnight fire destroyed a barn located south of New London.
Shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, New London Fire Department was dispatched to E7874 County Highway X, Weyauwega, between Country Lane and Larson Road, for a report of a barn engulfed in flames.
Fire departments from New London and Manawa were on scene by midnight. Firefighters battled the flames through heavy rains, lightning and thunder. Smoke and an orange glow were visible in the sky from several miles away.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Firefighters at the scene said nobody was home at the time of the fire. Public records indicate the property belongs to Rick and Roxy Sweetalla.
Next-door neighbor Steffan Rachwal said he was watching TV at home when he heard lightning a loud rumble and knew lightning had to have struck nearby. When he checked out the window later, he realized there was an orange glow and by then his neighbor’s barn was gone.
“That’s an old barn, really old barn,” Rachwal said. “She went fast.”
The barn appeared to have been burned down to its foundation.