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Arson Ruled in Lower Macungie Barn Fire

The vacant structure had no electrical service and a nearby farmhouse has been vandalized.

A state police fire marshal has ruled arson as the cause of the that leveled a Lower Macungie Township barn last month, according to the township fire chief.

Chief David Nosal said state police, in assisting township investigators, ruled that the blaze was intentionally set but would not have further details for release at this time, including the method used. The investigation is continuing.

The 1:45 a.m. March 29 blaze at the former Raedler farm near 5394  Sauerkraut Lane destroyed the barn, which was built in 1915. It also damaged some outbuildings. A farmhouse near the barn remains undamaged.

Township Fire Marshal George Caldarelli had no immediate ruling that day but noted that no one has lived on the property for several years and it had no active electric service, so there was no obvious reason for a fire.

David Raedler of Pennsburg, a former operator of the farm, speculated arson might be the cause in an in Patch. Raedler reminisced about his family's involvement in the farm, first as the Jarret farm and then through the Raedler branch of the family until it was sold in 1981 to Dr. Edward Wiener. The Wiener Trust owns the land today, fire officials have said.

Although the barn remained in excellent condition before the fire, the farmhouse was vandalized, leading Raedler to believe arson might be the cause of the barn fire.

The barn was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, according to Nosal. Poor access to the property meant hose lines had to be stretched 600 to 700 feet to fight the flames. He said main beams collapsed within 20 or 30 minutes of their arrival.

Six fire departments assisted Lower Macungie Fire Department, including the specialty needs of tankers and brush trucks.

Lisa Basara April 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Thanks, Tad, for the follow-up article. I hope the arsonist(s) are identified. . . .
Michael Raedler April 20, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Thanks again Tad for the follow-up. This is a very sad ending to a once beautiful property. Thank you for enlightening the public about its history and posting pictures of what the place looked like before became overgrown with brush and destroyed by fire. It truly was as beautiful place to play as a kid and spend time with family members as we grew up. I'm very thankfull that I was able to share this piece of my life with Lisa before the fire. -Michael Raedler
Carl W May 18, 2011 at 06:31 PM
If wilfully set by (a/an) adult(s), please keep in mind all: from volunteers responding to stations, to apparatus responses, lines pulled (can = heart attacks), risks taken to protect nearby areas, to fire companies & depts. not being available to their districts (even with other companies to cover for them), there's no such thing as a 'safe' arson. Please all, consider that, AND costs of responses. Children are seldom out "playing w/ matches," at 1 a.m. Personally, I share in the loss of such a wonderful part of countryside history & landscape. (Thanks to all who rolled - anywhere- on this, and those who gave the training & equipment for them to ba capable)!!


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