An early morning fire destroyed a two-story shed that was housing industrial-grade hemp on Tuesday in Eden Township.
The fire started just before 6:30 a.m. in the 400 block of Haiti Road.
The hemp was harvested and being prepared for sale in the two-story, 20-by-30-foot building, according to the Quarryville Fire Company.
It wasn't immediately known how much hemp was in the building.
Crop insurance was not available to hemp farmers for the 2019 crop.
This is the first time a local hemp farmer's crop went up in flames, according to local experts.
"We have been worried about hemp fires going into this harvest season since the material has a tendency to heat, just like hay," said Alyssa A. Collins, the director of Penn State University Extension's research center in Rapho Township. "We've been warning folks to be cautious about managing the storage of all forms."
It was also the first time Quarryville firefighters had to deal with a fire involving this kind of crop.
"It's similar to tobacco," said Ron Swayne, a firefighter with Quarryville. "It burns the same [as tobacco], it just smells different."
Crews put the fire out within an hour.
Lancaster County leads the state in growing hemp by a large margin, with 180 authorized locations. Second in the state is Chester County, with 60.