Fire destroys 150 tons of hay

By Dick Mason, The Observer July 29, 2013 11:07 am

Crews from the La Grande Rural and the Imbler Rural fire departments responded to a hay fire early Saturday morning. (Jim Voelz photo)
Crews from the La Grande Rural and the Imbler Rural fire departments responded to a hay fire early Saturday morning. (Jim Voelz photo)
 

A haystack fire about three miles northeast of La Grande destroyed 150 tons of hay worth $31,000 on Saturday morning but caused no injuries.

The fire, at 63852 McDonald Lane, was reported to the La Grande Rural Fire Department at 12:48 a.m. 

“Someone driving by saw it and then knocked on the door of a resident,” said La Grande Rural Fire Chief Larry Wooldridge.

The hay belonged to Bingaman Farms, according to Wooldridge.

Crews from the La Grande Rural and the Imbler Rural fire departments responded to the blaze. Upon their arrival the fire had spread to a nearby power pole. The pole was quickly extinguished. Had the pole continued burning it probably would have broken in half. 

“There would have been live wires on the ground,” Wooldridge said. 

The fire chief said the pole will probably have to be replaced because of the damage it sustained. 

Flames from the fire later ignited a grass field and began moving toward a barn approximately 100 feet away. These flames were also quickly extinguished. 

Had the fire spread the results could have been very serious since a home was just 200 feet from the blaze. 

 Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading, but did not try to extinguish it for two reasons — the water used would had created a mess and a backhoe would have been needed. Use of the backhoe would have been an added expense for the property owner since the La Grande Rural and Imbler Rural fire departments do not have one, Wooldridge said.

“We needed to let the fire burn out,’’ the fire chief said. 

A total of 15 firefighters were at the scene. Wooldridge said the cause of the fire is under investigation.