The loss of much of the next generation of the Hermes Dairy Farm's herd and the loss of 150 pigs in a barn fire near Green Springs are symptoms of what the state fire marshal's office is calling a growing problem in Ohio.
But it's more than a building that goes up. It's the underpinning for a local economy. Say what you want about manufacturing, tech and tourism; enough of the local economy is agricultural that it makes a difference when a barn is lost.
Which makes the prevention and fighting of such more a concern.
Here's another way the regionalism we push so insistently can come into play.
Absent a steady and sufficient source of water to fight a fire, firefighters have to take their water with them to a barn fire. Local fire departments have their tanker trucks, of course, and there are the "portable ponds" which can be set up to hold enough water to keep the pressure on a fire, but it seems there isn't always enough. Conversely, though, barn fires don't happen often enough to make it cost effective for each rural department to have on hand the sort of equipment to handle a really big barn fire in anything like enough time.
We have mutual aid agreements, and we've had many occasions to be grateful for them. What about taking that a step farther?
Let's have equipment pools, strategically located in the county, for rural departments to call upon as needed. They could be kept in existing fire stations and paid for cooperatively or, if the resources can be scraped together, depots can be set up two or three strategic spots.
This wouldn't be the conceptual leap that, say, two police departments sharing one building would be. It would be an amplification of what we already have.
But the total benefit could be greater than the sum of its parts. It's at least worth considering.