Fire destroyed a large, metal barn near the Big R store in Falcon and sparked a 15-acre wildfire Thursday afternoon.
Officials were not sure how much hay was in the building, but it was usually full, said Cory Galicia, Falcon Fire District battalion chief.
The blaze was reported at 1 p.m. by Big R employees, he said.
Flames were already shooting out of the top of the barn by the time firefighters got there.
“The building is a total loss,” Galicia said.
Big R employees declined comment when asked the size of the structure.
The wildfire set off by the fire was contained at Curtis Road, short of one of two residences firefighters say were threatened.
The retail store was not damaged, nor was another large metal building between the storage building and the store.
Crews were in the mop-up stage Thursday afternoon. The front of the building collapsed about 2 p.m. as the final flames were dying down.
Highway 24 was kept open because winds blew the smoke away from the highway, Galicia said.
But that same wind was a major concern because of the wildfire.
“It’s always a big concern with fires because we can have it go all the way to Calhan,” Galicia said.
Other fire districts involved included Peyton Fire Protection District, Ellicott Fire Department and Black Forest Fire & Rescue.
Because there was no hydrant, tenders lugging 2,000 gallons of water were brought in.
Russ Barnett, an automotive technician at Falcon Auto Service across the parking lot from Big R, was outside working on a roof drain pipe when the fire started.
“When it went up, we could feel the heat from it,” he said.
Galicia said he expected firefighters to be working to put out final embers well into the night.
Arson was not suspected, he said, but investigators who were already on site will make that final determination.