LAPAZ — It was just past 2 p.m. Monday when LaPaz resident Holly Richwalski spotted something amiss at her neighbor’s home at 215 W. 1st Road.
“I noticed billowing smoke coming out of the barn across the street,” said Richwalski, adding that she immediately called 911.
A metal and wood pole barn had been on fire for an undetermined period of time and was completely engulfed when fire departments from LaPaz, Bremen, Plymouth, and St. Joseph county arrived on the scene.
Chris Oginsky, LaPaz-North Township assistant fire chief, said that the cause of the fire is not known. Because the barn burned completely, he said it may be difficult to determine a cause. Oginsky also said that a garage and RV nearby the burning structure were not damaged.
The owner of the barn, Keith Schutz, said that he was at work when his son called him and told him that the building was on fire. He doesn’t know what could have started the blaze, but did say that a lawn mower, three cars, and a truck were inside the barn.
“This is the first fire we’ve ever had, and I’ve been here 20 years,” said Schutz as he watched firefighters put out the flames. “It’s not a pretty sight,” he continued, shaking his head in bewilderment.
To see more photos and video from the fire, visit the Pilot News Facebook page.