North Bienville Fire Department under “fire” again?

Remains of hay trailer as of Thursday evening, August 17

By Paige Nash

The North Bienville Fire Department along with Fire Chief Gary Hathorn responded to a fire on Tuesday afternoon, August 15, below Mt. Lebanon, near the historical and newly repaired “Red Barn.”

The barn is located at the intersection of Highway 154 and Highway 793.

A dually truck driven by a Dylan Edwards was carrying approximately 17 large bails of hay. According to the truck driver, he was unsure what caused the fire, but stated it could have possibly been a tire or the brakes.

Bienville Parish resident Herbert Newman noticed the fire while driving by the location.

Newman said, “He (Edwards) parked it on the side of the road, close to the property that the ‘Red Barn’ is on. When the fire chief got there, he took the owner of the rig to his house because he said he had a tractor that he could use to help knock the fire down.”

Property owners Judy Merritt Carter and sister Jane Merritt Robinson were eventually contacted and arrived at the location.

Carter said, “While he (Hathorn) was gone, the trailer and burning hay was moved onto our property where the ‘Red Barn’ is. It was moved onto dirt and grass that was dead without my permission.”

According to Carter, when she questioned the firefighters from NBFD why they moved the trailer there and not across the street onto an asphalted parking lot, they responded that they were just following orders given to them by Hathorn.

“This is a landmark. It is a hundred years old and we have spent at least $100,000 repairing it,” said Carter.

She said that Hathorn did return with Edwards to attempt to extinguish the fire again, but eventually left while the fire was still blazing.

Two men from the Forestry Department showed up to the location to access the situation.

“The two men told me that this was not within their guidelines, but that I could call and talk to their superior, Chris McCarthy. He approved that the two young men could use some of their equipment to prepare a fire lane,” said Carter.

Family and friends continued to keep the fire confined on their own accord in fear of the fire spreading across the property to the barn. Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance also dispatched deputies to keep an eye on the fire overnight and to direct traffic when needed.

NBFD returned on Wednesday morning, August 17, to add extra water on the remains of the trailer that was still smoldering.

NBFD Chief Gary Hathorn was accessible for comment. A meeting has been arranged to discuss further details of this situation and to address questions with him early next week. Check out Wednesday’s publication of the Bienville Parish Journal for that story.

Hay trailer as of Tuesday evening, August 15

To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE

Leave a Reply Cancel reply