ANIMALS LOST IN BARN FIRE
COLUMBIA CITY — Several animals were lost in a barn fire in Whitley County Wednesday morning.After 12 inches of snow fell on the area Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, the fire was spotted by the property owners at approximately 4 a.m. Wednesday, and firefighters responded — as quickly as possible.With many county roads and state highways still snow-covered, officials were delayed in making the scene, located on Ind. 9, slightly south of Ind. 14.Four fire departments responded: Washington, Columbia, Cleveland and Jefferson Townships. The property is owned by Randall and Debra Laux.Debra Laux said the barn had several 4-H animals inside, and very few of them survived.Amidst the snow and fire, an ambulance and plow truck collided at the scene. According to law enforcement officials, an ambulance driver for Whitley County EMS was attempting to move the vehicle closer to the scene, in case any firefighters needed medical treatment. In the process, the ambulance collided with a state highway plow truck.Officials say there was no damage to the plow truck, but South Whitley’s ambulance had a scrape down its side.Another building in Whitley County suffered a massive fire during a substantial snow storm in January.Whitley County faced Winter Storm Ion in the second week of January, and Viking Products, an automotive company located on East Business 30, suffered substantial damage as a result of the fire, which was also difficult for fire trucks to get to due to snowy road conditions.