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.