A historic North Warren structure was destroyed by fire early Sunday morning.
The Barley Home, 506 S. State St., was fully involved minutes after the call went out at 2:32 a.m.
"When I got here, the whole front two-thirds, first and second floor, were fully involved," North Warren Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Reynolds said.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
Fire hoses remain at the Barley Home, 506 S. State St., North Warren, after a Sunday-morning fire.
The fire started near the front - State Street side - of the building, but spread through the second floor and roof the length of the structure, Reynolds said. "It's totally destroyed."
No one was in the building at the time of the fire and no one was injured battling the blaze, he said.
Firefighters from nine departments - North Warren, Starbrick, Glade, Lander, Russell, Scandia, Clarendon, Youngsville, and Pleasant - responded and participated in fighting the blaze from inside and out.
The property, also known as The Pines, is surrounded by a stone wall and dotted with large trees.
"We needed the manpower," Reynolds said. "We couldn't get an aerial in here. It's a lot of hand work."
"The roof fell relatively early" allowing firefighters to work without the danger of the roof falling on their heads, he said. "The guys got in there and dug it out. They did a nice job. That was really the only way to root it out."
Because the building had been used as a nursing home, the layout was challenging for firefighters. "It's a very cut up building," Reynolds said.
"Within two hours we had the fire knocked down and the rest of the time we spent rooting it out," he said. He said firefighters will remain at the scene at least until Monday morning in case any hotspots rekindle.
He said there was not a lot of flammable material inside the building at the time of the fire, but that the fire spread quickly and throughout the structure.
Reynolds said he did not know what caused the fire.
Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Jon McClain, out of Girard, was at the scene investigating shortly after 10 a.m. He did not make any comment nor issue any kind of a statement Sunday morning.
Reynolds asked that people stay back from the structure. "We have it barricaded and taped," he said. He also asked that those who are driving past the scene pay attention to the road.
At officials' request, the administrator of the property, Roger Shattuck, posted signs all around to warn off trespassers.
He said the stone structure was originally built by the Wetmore family in the 1830s.
"For a while, this was their summer home," Stattuck said.
Judge Lansing D. Wetmore, for whom some of the nearby streets are named, had been one of the residents of the home.
Hazel Barley purchased the property in about 1960.
It was used as a nursing home from then until 2011, Stattuck said.
The Shattucks acquired the property in 2001.
The property was included in the Warren County Sheriff's Sale list published on July 31.