An early-morning fire leveled a barn at Shelburne Farms, a beloved Vermont landmark.
The Old Dairy Barn, as the structure was known, was a giant fireball around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, according to area residents.
The Shelburne News newspaper reports the structure was used to store wood and other agricultural material, but no animals lived in it.
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A Shelburne Farms administrator told the paper it appears a lightning strike sparked the blaze.
Fire officials said the probable cause of the fire is lightning from the early morning thunderstorms that moved through the Champlain Valley area early Sunday morning.
The barn was a total loss.
"It is a sad day for Shelburne Farms," Megan Camp, a vice president and program director at the non-profit told the Shelburne News.
Shelburne Farms is an educational non-profit that advocates for sustainability. Its campus is a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark, according to its website.
The Old Dairy Barn was built in 1891, the Shelburne Farms website says, to stable brood mares for the property's world-famous horse breeding operation.
Recently, a plan was in the works to convert the structure into a residential learning center, where students, educators, and families could meet for in-depth programs, the landmark's website says.
Fire departments from several area communities responded to Sunday morning's blaze.
Fire officials said no residents were injured but the blaze displaced 2-4 families living on the property. The American Red Cross is assisting.