One Dead After Fatal Barn Fire Occurs Near Ranchester

Story By: Spencer Porden

RANCHESTER, WY- A barn fire near Ranchester claimed the life of one victim early Monday morning. At 2:05 a.m. on Monday, crews from Ranchester Fire, Dayton Fire, and Sheridan Fire Rescue responded to a reported structure fire on Highway 345 just outside of Ranchester. Crews arrived on scene and found a single-story barn to be fully involved. It took all three crews close to 2 hours to get the blaze under control.

During fire suppression efforts, first responders discovered that there had been one occupant inside the building during an interior search. The victim had been living inside of a camper trailer that was parked inside the barn.

An investigation by the Wyoming Department of Fire Prevention indicated that the fire started inside the trailer about midway down the hall. The exact source is yet to be determined. Officials noted that during the investigation they discovered an electric space heater, a power inverter, and a breaker box with all of the breakers tripped near the area of ignition, indicating that there was power to the trailer.

The victim was identified as 72-year-old Jay Lanka. At this time no foul play is suspected.