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ROYALTON – A fire in a tractor engine is being blamed for a fire thar destroyed a barn and damaged nearly $24,000 worth of equipment late Sunday.

Middleport Fire Company responded to the fire at 9424 Mountain Road just after 11 p.m. Sunday for a fire in an unattached barn. Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire, but not before it damaged the building’s roof and structural beams.

Heavy smoke and fire damaged a 2000 Honda 4x4, a Cub Cadet lawn mower and a Cub Cadet diesel tractor, and a Kubota Rough Terrain Vehicle. Damage to the barn was listed at $20,000 and damage to the vehicles was listed at $23,900, according to Niagara County sheriff’s deputies.

Homeowner Ronda Schul told deputies she was alerted to the blaze by her mother, Donna Frey who lives nearby. She told investigators that she had used the tractor and mower earlier that evening and returned them to the barn at 6 p.m.. She said she had trouble starting the early 1990s-era diesel tractor lately.

Investigators searched through the fire scene and determined that the fire was an electrical issue inside the diesel tractor, deputies reported.