By Megan Decker
CARO — One of three Tuscola County 4-H barns located at the Tuscola County Fairgrounds sustained major damage as a result of a fire during the early morning hours on Friday.
Over 90 percent of the barn was damaged during the blaze, which began at approximately 2:30 a.m. The fire initially was reported by a driver for Michigan Sugar Company.
The barn is believed to be a complete loss, however officials plan to remove and rebuild the structure, which was insured. The fire also caused minor damage to the siding of a nearby structure.
Preliminary investigation by the Caro Fire Department shows that the fire was believed to have been accidentally started by a person who had been using the structure as a shelter, said Caro Fire Department chief Randy Heckroth.
Firefighters on the scene recovered a pizza box with uneaten pizza as well as utensils. A portion of a hay bail, which is believed to be the initial source of the fire, was found outside of the building. The remaining portion of the hay bail was still located inside the northern portion of the barn, Heckroth explained.
The department has finished its investigation at this time as it does not appear to be suspicious in nature, Heckroth added.
Firefighters were on the scene for approximately one and a half hours.
The Caro Fire Department was assisted by the Fairgrove Fire Department, Michigan State Police and Caro Police Department.