OPP investigating suspicious structure fire in North Perth

A fire on a farm property in North Perth has been deemed suspicious and is under investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Emergency crews were called to the scene on Perth Line 88 near Palmerston just before 4 a.m.

The fire was reportedly at a residence and barn on the vacant property.

Area resident Mike Smith was awoken early Monday morning by the commotion.

"It was almost like the sun was coming up, the chickens literally came out of their coop thinking it was morning," he said. "There were no flames in between the house and barn, which I found a little bit weird that both buildings went up."

No one was injured during the incident.

The damage estimate is unknown. Fire officials said only small items like grain bins and a snow blower were inside the barn when the flames broke out, adding the home was empty.

An excavator was on site for most of Monday morning trying to contain what was left of the fire.

"The excavator is containing the fire, pulling out metal and stuff of that nature and then containing left over wood within the foundation to burn it off," North Perth's assistant fire chief, Jason Benn, said late Monday morning.

Benn said although the fire has been deemed suspicious, there are currently no suspects.

For those who live nearby, like Smith, the blaze is worrisome.

"There was an issue with theft at one point and now a fire, it always makes you more cautious," he said.

The Ontario Fire Marshal has been consulted regarding the incident. The major crimes unit for Perth County is assisting with the investigation.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact Ontario Provincial Police.