Tess Corners Fire Departments, aided by units from the Town of Vernon and the City of New Berlin, responded to a barn fire around 6:40 Sunday evening as strong storms punctuated by frequent lightning rolled through the area.
The barn, estimated to be about a century old, was fully involved when the units came on scene, and was considered to be a total loss.
Dave Schiffer, who is a remodeler and owns Pride Building, said he hates thinking about what the barn, which was a part of a historic homestead, held inside.
"I had been collecting exotic woods for my business, like zebrawood, bubinga wood and a load of cherry. Now it's all gone," he said.
Schiffer said about half of his business equipment was stored in the barn as well.
The lightning strike occurred when no one was at home, but Schiffer said the TVs in the house he rents had blown out as well as some extension cords. An outbuilding also had a pump, which started on fire, but was contained. Alert neighbors called in the blaze to police.
"It was more than just a barn," Schiffer said. "It was 100 years of history, and a good part of my business. There were all hand-hewn timbers inside; they raised this as a community, and now Mother Nature has taken it back."
While the property, owned by Al and Barb Schroeder, has insurance, the contents of the barn did not according to Schiffer.
Although fire crews have since departed, the old wood is still burning, and Schiffer said probably would continue to burn for a couple of days.