By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Explosion, fire destroys barn
No one injured in quick-burning blaze
fire pic3
Firefighters talk with witnesses who heard a “boom” before the fire began. - photo by VICTORIA BATESOLE / The Journal

An explosion followed by a fire burned a historic barn in the 5200 block of Tully Road, between Taylor and Barnhart roads, to the ground Friday afternoon.

A man working on a car heard a “boom” near where the fire started and went to a nearby house to call 911 at around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, said Keyes Fire Chief Robert Watt.

The Keyes Fire Department, along with the Hughson, Westport and Stanislaus Consolidated fire departments responded to the call.

“The best thing to do right now is let the barn burn,” Watt said Friday afternoon. “The Department of Environmental Resources is coming out soon to look things over.”

The explosion was reported to have come from the barn itself and not the building next to it, which contained agricultural chemicals. The cause of the explosion and fire are still under investigation, said Watt, but it does not look suspicious at this time.

The barn was located on the Cederlind-Stammerjohan Vineyards property. While everything inside the barn and the building next to it was destroyed, no one was injured in the blaze.

According to Cindee Elsted, the barn was built by her late grandfather George Stammerjohan in the 1930s.

“It was the tallest and biggest barn in the county; he was so proud of that,” Elsted said.

Elsted said Friday would have been her grandfather’s 108th birthday. The property is now owned by Elsted’s grandmother Lorraine Stammerjohan and farmed by her cousin, Jeff Cederlind.

Almond harvesters working in the orchards on the property Friday saw the barn on fire and contacted the family.

“This is the worst time for this to happen,” Elsted said.

Although, there was a bright side to Friday’s tragedy, she said. The ranch dog was untied from the barn by a man who rents out the farmhouse on the property.

“Everything else burned to the ground, but they saved Nugget.”

Roxana Samano contributed to this report.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.