PLEASANT VIEW, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Cheatham County man’s hard work was left in flames, and now an arson investigation is underway after flare gun casings were found near the farmer’s burning barn.
The barn was filled with hundreds of rolls of hay, a job Greg Balthrop had already been paid on. The job, combined with the loss of his barn, he says is at least $50,000 in damage.
Among the peaceful farmland in Chapmansboro on Thomasville Road, you will often find Balthrop hard at work.
“Yeah. I farm full time,” he explained.
He will tell you his father moved onto the property just before Christmas in 1949. Greg, the third-generation owner of the land, farms day in and day out with tobacco and hay serving as his main sources of income.
“This was full of hay. I do a lot of custom hay work and I sell a lot of hay,” he said gesturing to his burned-down barn.
His blue steal barn was stocked for months with more than 250 bails of hay, a pre-paid job he said was set for delivery this week is now ashes.
“This has been in there three to four months so I knew somebody had set it on fire,” said Balthrop.
The thought was hard to fathom as he stared at the twisted steel barn frame left behind.
“I didn’t know I had any enemies.”
Friday night, on his way back from the dollar store, a neighbor called saying his barn was on fire — a sight his eyes caught miles away as he rounded the backroads home.
“I’d seen the whole building was red from one end to the other. All the metal on it was red, cherry red. It was gone when I got here,” he said.
A neighbor’s doorbell camera captured a vehicle pull onto the property around 9:15 p.m. Friday, and then, you can hear and see five flares being fired towards the barn. Investigators recovered four shell casings on the property. The intent was frightening for Balthrop and his neighbors.
“It’s just scary you don’t know what they might do next,” he told News 2, adding that they need to pay up. “It’s cruel. I mean it’s just like stealing $50,000 from somebody. You need to pay for it. You know a lot of people were depending on me for hay and you put me at a hardship. You know you need to pay for what you done.”
While this is a big hit for Balthrop just weeks before Christmas, he’s not going to let it slow him down.
“I always look on the bright side you know; I’m still alive, not hungry, I can go again.”
A neighbor told investigators they saw an older model white truck pull on the property and go towards the barn and left heading towards Ervin Pace Road.
Anyone with any information on the case is asked to call Cheatham County Sheriff’s Department at 615-792-4341.