A farmhand mixing chemicals accidentally prompted an explosion and fire that destroyed a barn near St. Jacobs, authorities say.

The fire occurred around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on Benjamin Road.

Firefighters from St. Jacobs, Elmira, Floradale and Waterloo were all called to the scene.

Their efforts were hampered by a shortage of water.

Crews had to shuttle tanker trucks down to Conservation Road to refill – a 10-minute round-trip which also left some Waterloo residents with low or no water pressure.

Firefighters then remained at the scene overnight, extinguishing hotspots and ensuring the flames didn’t flare up once again.

Investigators say chemicals were being mixed inside the barn to produce biodiesel fuel.

The barn, which was primarily used for storage, was destroyed.

No injuries were reported.