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'Never had anything hurt us any worse': Harford farmer loses barn in arson fire

According to investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, a teenage boy is responsible for the fire
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Posted at 5:07 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 03:53:53-04

PYLESVILLE, Md — Twenty-four hours after a fire leveled his barn in Pylesville, Jim Archer is still at it, putting out sporadic flames at his dairy farm that he’s run for more than 50 years.  

“I’ve never had anything that hurt us any worse than this fire has been,” said Archer, “I don’t know how long it will take to recuperate," Archer said. "Well, you don’t. You just go on.” 

According to investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, a teenage boy is responsible for the fire just after noon on Sunday that destroyed the structure and a season’s worth of supplies with it. Investigators believe the estimated cost of the damage is over $750,000.

Fortunately, his cattle are unharmed, and Archer is thankful for the response from his neighbors and fellow farmers.  

“Heck, people come from 10 miles away or you know, further, just to say, ‘Hey, I’m here for you if you need me.’ That’s pretty moving,” said Archer. “You think those days are gone, but they aren’t, and I think that means a lot.” 

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Forty firefighters dropped everything on Father’s Day to extinguish the flames, and neighbors, including Paul Scott, helped out as well.  

“You grow up with the man. I worked for the man 30 years ago. Well, you’re going to get help,” said Scott, “That’s just how the community works around here.” 

At this point, police are saying very little about the evidence surrounding the 15-year-old and the allegations that he set this fire intentionally. 

For his part, Archer isn’t dwelling on the criminal aspect of this setback. 

“It only let’s me realize there’s a lot of kids out there have trouble,” said the longtime farmer. 

He’s choosing to focus on the work, which lies ahead.  

“As long as you’re alive and above ground, you’ve got to go on,” Archer said.