HARRODSBURG — The investigation into what caused a Monday fire at the Mercer County Fairgrounds will take weeks to complete, but it appears the fire was set either intentionally or accidentally, officials said.
Early Monday morning, 30 firefighters from Harrodsburg, Mercer County and Burgin extinguished a blaze that destroyed an 18-stall barn at the Linden Avenue fairgrounds. Authorities including a state fire marshal and a Kentucky State Police arson investigator surveyed the scene Monday, said Jay Anderson, treasurer of the Mercer County Fair Board.
Anderson said there is no source of active electricity near the barn, which rules out an electrical cause. Also, there was no thunderstorm around the time of the fire.
Harrodsburg Fire Chief Chris Dean declined to discuss specifics of the investigation, stating only that it will take weeks to complete. KSP Trooper Paul Blanton said the state fire marshal’s office is handling the case. State investigator Mike Burke was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
The barn is covered by a $30,000 insurance policy, which is not enough to replace the barn itself, according to¿Anderson. The fair board will discuss the matter at its meeting next Wednesday. In the meantime, the fair board’s insurance policy will cover the cost of hiring workers to clean up the rubble from the burned barn.
Even though the loss of the barn is sad, the fire could have been much worse, Anderson said. Several nearby barns were also in danger, but due to the quick work of firefighters, only the one barn was impacted by the blaze. No people or animals were hurt in the fire.
“Without the unbelievable work of the firefighters, we could be talking about a major loss of multiple structures,” Anderson said.
The Mercer County Fair and Horse Show, the oldest event of its type in the country, will go on as planned July 16-28. In the last 15 years, the fair has lost five of its structures to fire.