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Cascade County

Aug 23, 2013 2:47 PM by Tara Grimes (tara@krtv.com)

Owner laments loss of vintage cars in barn fire

NEAR SUN RIVER - A barn filled with classic automobiles was destroyed in a barn fire on Thursday afternoon.

Ed Gemar, the owner of the vehicles, watched decades of history go up in flames. Inside the barn he had at least 10 antique cars, tractors, and other equipment.

Gemar said, "I had one, two, three pickups...I lost an expensive tractor. I just put new tires on it that were a thousand dollars per tire. They're all gone now."

Gemar says he was torching some weeds near the building when he believes a spark hit a dry piece of wood; he recalled, "I hear this pickup horn. This guy was blowing on his pickup horn and he's hollering at me. He saw the flame because I had my back to them. I opened up the door and up went the flames."

Sun River Assistant Fire Chief Andrew Carlsson says several factors made it difficult to fight the fire: "The building was really old wood with corrugated steel siding and it just makes it really hard for the water to penetrate that. I mean it did it's job, it kept the water out, so we just had no access to inside so it just burned hotter than we could keep up with the water."

Carlsson also says the fire highlighted the issue of staffing within volunteer fire departments: "We are unbelievably hurting for people and with as dry as it's getting with the timber and the wildfires that's going on, we're losing people to that, we just need people."

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