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Another Verndale barn burns across from R&J Sales

Photo by Brian Hansel Fire destroyed a barn owned by Ken and Val Schmitz.

A two-year-old, Vintage-style barn belonging to Ken and Val Schmitz was destroyed by fire March 24 in Verndale.

Two horses were rescued but a pet turkey was killed in the blaze, which was reported at 12:17 a.m. A variety of property was also lost in the 24x48 foot building, including a tractor and a camper trailer. The barn was not insured.

The Schmitzes' only reason for concern about the cause of the barn fire is that it's located directly across the road from R & J Sales, Val said, where an early morning fire in a barn on the morning of Dec. 21, 2008 killed more than 40 horses. The cause of the R & J Sales fire has still not been determined.

Ken Schmitz was on duty with the National Guard on the night of the fire and was away from home. Val and her daughter, Josie, were asleep. Val was awakened by a phone call from her neighbor, Judy Sundby, and was able to keep her horses from re-entering the barn. Horses will sometimes re-enter a burning building out of fear and confusion.

A heat lamp was also on inside the barn for the pet turkey. A heavy duty extension cord connected the lamp to an outlet in the garage.

The Verndale Fire Department was called to a lightning fire earlier in the evening. The VFD has told the family that they do not regard the fire as a suspicious one.

The fire department and the Verndale Police Department were assisted in the emergency by the Wadena Fire Department and the Wadena County Sheriff's Department.