Eloise Crow was cooking dinner when a neighbor knocked on the door and asked if she knew her barn was on fire.
Five county fire departments — Clements, Owens, West Limestone, Pleasant Grove and Tanner —were dispatched to the New Cut Road address around 4:50 p.m. as fire billowed out the roof of the 40-by-120-foot barn. Crow said she and her husband Joe watched as flames engulfed the structure, containing two motor homes, a pontoon boat, tractors, golf carts and propane tanks.
By the time firefighters arrived, the porch had collapsed and sheet metal siding began falling away as wooden support beams burned. A thick column of black smoke, which witnesses said could be seen for miles, rose over the barn and was not abated by the firefighter's hoses.
In addition to the large flames, crews also battled freezing conditions as temperatures dropped after sunset.
Eloise said she and Joe had just remodeled one of the motor homes as they were planning a road trip to Florida. Aside from the vehicles, the barn housed some kitchen equipment and other nicknacks on its concrete flooring.
“Oh, it was nice,” Crow told The News Courier, adding she and Joe had planned to live in the barn until her mother came to live with the couple.
Traffic slowed as drivers gawked at the roaring blaze and neighbors gathered to watch.
“It's terrible,” Crow said about her family's loss. “At least it's not my house.”
Crews were still working to put out the blaze at The News Courier deadline. Officials had not yet established a cause of the fire.